OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT, 1923
Why in News?
Recently Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court that the government could invoke the Official Secrets Acts against the The Hindu newspaper, which had published to the documents pertaining to the purchase of Rafale jets.
About Official Secrets Act, 1923:
- The Official Secrets Act is a British era legislation enacted in 1923 to suppress spying of the British Government.
- This act clearly states that actions which involve helping an enemy state against India are strongly condemned.
- It also states that one cannot approach, inspect, or even pass over a prohibited government site or area.
- Punishments under the act range from three to fourteen years imprisonment.
- This act is controversial to the modern RTI act, 2005.
- In the clause 6 of OSA, information from any governmental office is considered official information, hence it can be used to override Right to Information Act, 2005 requests. This has drawn harsh criticism.
- The Union Home Ministry in 2017 agreed to amend the OSA to make it more transparent and in line with the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Why in News?
Recently Indian side of the Sunderbans has received the prestigious “Wetlands of International Importance” tag under the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands.
About the development:
- This makes it the largest protected wetland in the country.
- The Bangladesh part of the Sunderbans had received the Ramsar tag way back in 1992.
- The state government believes the Ramsar tag will help promote the Sunderbans as an eco-tourism hotspot.
- It is home to many rare and critically endangered species like the northern river terrapin, the Irrawaddy dolphin and fishing cat.