20 June, 2021

The Iron Fig Leaf

Outlook scooped V.K. Singh's expose on RAW. Now, he's booked under the Official Secrets Act. Is this act meant for misuse?

Jitender Gupta
The Iron Fig Leaf
Draconian Law

What is wrong with the OSA?

  • Has several vague, "all-inclusive" provisions; anyone can be prosecuted for sharing even harmless information
  • What is "secret" has not been defined, leaving scope for misuse
  • Any document can be deemed secret on the opinion of an "expert"
  • Heavily loaded against the accused. Only Section 5 has a provision for bail which is rarely given.
  • Is used as a vendetta tool to book whistleblowers and unpliable officials.


In an age when it is fashionable to talk about freedom of expression, the UPA government has resorted to the archaic Official Secrets Act (OSA) of 1923 to press charges against Major General V.K. Singh, a retired officer who also served with the country's external intelligence agency, RAW. Singh's crime: authoring a book detailing instances of corruption, nepotism and negligence within RAW. The book—India's External Intelligence—was published three...

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