Arnab Goswani knew about the Balakot Air Strike three days before it happened. He and his friend on their WhatsApp chat are chatting that ‘this’ will sweep the polls. This whole ArnabGate where Arnab is seen leaking information is nothing but a criminal offence under Official Secret Act 1923 and the very act calls out for his actions. An action that has outraged Indians, asking authorities to arrest Arnab Goswami under Official Secrets Act 1923 for treason.
So, What Is the Official Secret Act 1923 that can arrest Arnab Goswami for treason?
India’s anti-espionage act, the Official Secret Act was enacted in British colonial period in 1923 and retained after Independence. Applicable to both government servants and citizens, the law clearly gives an entire context to deal with sedition, spying and/or any other potential threats to the very integrity of the nation state. The Official Secret Act 1923 makes sharing ‘secret information’ a punishable offence amongst others including spying, withholding information, interfering with the armed forces in restricted/prohibited area along with unauthorized use of uniforms. If found guilty, the person can end up in jail for 14 years and a fine, or both.
Going by the act, the information shared can be in the form of ‘plans’, ‘sketches’, ‘model’, ‘’maps’ ‘passwords’, ‘official codes’, ‘documents’, ‘photographs’ etc. A person can be prosecuted under this Act and can be charge even if his/her action was unintentional and not intended to endanger the security of the state.
In the leaked chat, Arnab has been seen sharing the model, the pattern that violates the law –
In fact, not just Goswami but also the ‘insiders’ who divulged the secrets should be arrested too. In addition, there has to be a thorough investigation on the reasons for ‘Balakot surgical strike’ now that the WhatsApp Leaks have made many of us wonder whether the surgical strike was conceived and executed for national security or for other gains.
Can the State Government Arrest Arnab Goswami under Official Secrets Act 1923 for Treason?
RTI Activist tweeted that the Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act 1923 allows the State Government to arrest him without having to take permission from the Union government and if that happens the person who leaked Goswami with the Balakot info too falls prey to the law.
The Sorry State That We are In
From comedians, journalists to human right activists, several have been booked under UAPA – Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act over the years for their speech, reporting, social media posts and sometimes even for assumptions that they would hurt religion or national sentiments.
Journalist Siddique Kappan is in jail for more than days for trying to report on Hathras. Comedian Munawar Faruqui is in jail for more than 20 days for a joke he never said but Arnab Goswami who has leaked military intelligence is enjoying ‘Liberty’ even after being caught with military secrets and buying judges.
So, why not Arrest Arnab Goswami under Official Secrets Act 1923 for treason along with the people who leaked the data to him and let the entire nation know that there is no room for sedition in India at all.
Featured Image Source: Satish Acharya via Twitter