31 May 2023 2:27 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea moved by Major General (retired) V.K. Singh against the FIR registered by CBI alleging that he published some classified and secret information about Research and Analysis Wing in his book authored in 2007 after his retirement. After retiring from service in 2002, Singh published the book titled 'India's External Intelligence- Secrets of...
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea moved by Major General (retired) V.K. Singh against the FIR registered by CBI alleging that he published some classified and secret information about Research and Analysis Wing in his book authored in 2007 after his retirement.
After retiring from service in 2002, Singh published the book titled 'India's External Intelligence- Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)' in June 2007. An FIR was then registered by CBI after which a complaint and police report were filed before the trial court in 2008. The case against Singh was initiated by a Deputy Secretary, Government of India, Cabinet Secretariat.
The complaint was filed against Singh and another individual under the Officials Secrets Act, 1923. The grievance of CBI was that the names of officer, location of various places and recommendations of the GOM etc. were disclosed in the book.
Dismissing the former RAW officer's plea which challenged the FIR, complaint as well as the chargesheet, Justice Mukta Gupta said that it would be a matter of trial after the witnesses are examined to see whether the revelations in the book are likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India or the security of the State.
“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 wherein cognizance was taken by the learned CMM; though on a challenge before this Court the same was set aside as the complaint was not filed by the competent authority,” the court said.
Justice Gupta also said that the CBI was within its jurisdiction to register the FIR and investigate offences as the registration of FIR and probe was not being barred in view of the allegations of cognizable offence.
“Even when the offence complained of is triable exclusively by the Court of Sessions. Hence, in the present case the learned CMM committed no error in awaiting the report of the Police after filing of the complaint by the authorized person and on receipt of the Police report, the complaint case and the Police report were tagged and they were required to be proceeded as a case instituted on a Police report in terms of Section 210(2) Cr.P.C,” the court said.
Perusing the complaint and the police report, the court noted that there was no allegation of recovery of classified documents and that no prosecution for offence of being in possession with classified documents was initiated against Singh.
“In the absence of such an allegation, the book having been published after the retirement of the petitioner, this dissemination of the information available to him during the course of his duties, cannot lead to the inference that the offence was performed by the petitioner in discharge of his official duty. Consequently, no sanction under Section 197 Cr.P.C. was required at the time of taking cognizance. Be that as it may, subsequently sanction was taken from the competent authority and in case at any stage it is revealed that the alleged offence was committed in discharge of the official duty, the learned CMM would be at liberty to take fresh cognizance if so warranted and legally permissible,” the court said.
Advocates Dr. B.K.Subarao, Chander M. Maini, B.K. Wadhwa and Mayank Maini appeared for petitioner.
SPP Anupam S.Sharma and Advocates Prakarsh Airan, Harpreet Kalsi, Ripudaman Sharma, Abhishek Batra represented CBI.
Title: MAJ GEN. V.K. SINGH (RETD.) v. CBI
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 472
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