New Delhi, May 31 (IANS): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to quash a CBI case against a former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) official for allegedly disclosing secret information in his book "India's External Intelligence - Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing".
A single-judge bench of Justice Mukta Gupta was hearing a petition by Major General V.K. Singh (retd), a former joint secretary of India's external spy agency, wanting to quash the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case against him under the Official Secrets Act.
Petitioner's book was published five years after his retirement from service in June 2002. A year later (2008), an FIR was registered against him.
In the present case, a complaint was filed by Deputy Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat with the CBI seeking legal action against the petitioner under the provisions of the Officials Secrets Act.
The court said that determining what compromises national security cannot be decided by courts and that it was up to the trial to determine if the book's discoveries were likely to impair the sovereignty, integrity, or security of the nation.
"It would be a matter of trial after the witnesses are examined to see whether the revelations by the petitioner in his book is likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India and/or the security of the state. In view of the discussion aforesaid, this Court finds no merit in the petition. Petition and application are dismissed," it said.
The petitioner argued that the claim that doing so would compromise the security and sovereignty of the nation was completely unjustified as the purpose of writing the book was to draw attention to problems with lack of accountability and corruption in RAW.
However, it was CBI's contention that names of officers, location of the places and recommendations of the Group of Ministers (GOM) etc. were used in the book.
The court noted that the petitioner reproduced the recommendations of the GOM verbatim and that he has, in another matter, himself said similar revelations made by two other authors and publishers amounted to an offence under the Official Secrets Act.
"This court ...has noted that what prejudices the national security cannot be decided by the courts. Even in the present case, the recommendations of the GOM, which were deleted from publication, have been reproduced verbatim by the petitioner," the court said.
"It may also be noted that the petitioner himself was of the opinion that similar revelations by the two other authors and publishers amounted to an offence under the Official Secrets Act and thus filed complaint," it added.