Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has provided a trigger to re-look the archaic Official Secrets Act which goes back to the British era.
A committee has been set up to look into the OSA and only time would tell how much of it could be amended.
Former Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, C D Sahay feels that portions of it should be looked into.
In this interview with OneIndia, Sahay says that democracy is not just about casting votes-there is a greater need for involvement of people.
What do you make of the issue surrounding the declassification of files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose?
I feel that there must be something much more. This is not merely a Nehru vs Bose issue. There is sure more to it and it is for the government to decide on how much to tell.
Will de-classifying the files lead to law and order problems?
If the argument by any government that de-classifying the files relating to Netaji Bose would lead to a huge backlash either politically or in social order, then I do not agree totally.
Two files were de-classified recently. Has it led to law and order problems? India is not a static entity.
Indians have moved on and hence I do not buy the argument that any declassification would lead to law and order problems.
What is the government really hiding?
There must be something in national interest that they are not telling us about.
All documents are in the exclusive domain of the Prime Minister and the External Affairs ministry. There sure must be something more.
It is not an issue that can merely be rejected as a Nehru vs Bose issue.
The Netaji issue has become a trigger to amend to the Official Secrets Act. Do you see the amendment coming through?
It depends on how far can this committee which has been formed amend the OSA. It is an act that has remained in force since the days of the British. India has moved well past the days of the British.
There is a greater need for involvement and democracy is not just about casting votes- it is a way of life.
We need to take a huge leap forward. We saw that in the enacting of the RTI.
I think there is a need for compromise which will make governments more accountable and the public more involved in the decision making process.
How far can we go in the amendment to the OSA?
This issue has cropped up due to the Netaji files. Netaji has provided a trigger to amend the OSA. Let there be a review, but let the review not be confined only to a small group of people.
However, I must add that there are certain areas where a decree of confidentiality needs to be maintained as anything and everything cannot be out in the public domain.
I would feel that while considering amendments to the OSA, there needs to be a balance between confidentiality and the needs of the country.