10/03/2019 2:40 PM IST

Official Secrets Act Archaic And Irrelevant, Says Former VP Hamid Ansari

The colonial-era legislation is only used when the government wants to make an example out of somebody, Ansari said.

Former Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a file photo. 

NEW DELHI―Terming the Official Secrets Act, 1923, as an “archaic” and “irrelevant” law, former Vice President Hamid Ansari on Saturday called for a reexamination of the colonial-era legislation in light of current “realities and norms”, The Indian Expressreported.  

“The Official Secrets Act, in my understanding, is — like so many other laws we have — archaic and irrelevant in this age when the same thing is available in authentic form elsewhere. It is simply used when you want to make an example out of somebody,” former VP Ansari said after delivering the B G Verghese Memorial Lecture on ‘Journalism in times of strident nationalism’, according to the report. 

A report about the event in The Hindu said, Ansari’s remarks were made while responding to a question about invoking of the Act in the context of The Hindu’s publication of excerpts from documents relating to the purchase of Rafale fighters.

This report also explained that on March 6, Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal had indicated that investigations were under way to determine whether the newspaper’s publication of the documents was a crime, and a violation of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.