Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Information Commission: In response to appeal filed seeking information on all the files related to operation “Blue Star”, CIC disposed of the appeal by stating that “the disclosure of information would have been prejudicial to internal security of the nation”.

The appellant had initially sought information on all files related to operation blue star with CPIO, PMO. Appellant contended that disclosure of information at such belated stage in no way could prejudicially affect the security or strategic interests of the State, unless the Indian Army had done any injustice.

Commission had asked the CPIO for written submissions, in which the CPIO stated that disclosure of these records at any point would have severe implications on the integrity of the State and invariably enable anti-national elements. By keeping in mind the current scenario, where the electronic media has reached every nook and corner, the said information would have an instantaneous effect. CPIO by stating the instance of assault of Lt. Gen K S Brar (Retd.) of Z plus category of security only for his involvement in the conduct of operation blue star, wanted to bring out the gravity of disclosing the information asked upon.

Therefore, Commission after keeping in mind the above contentions of the appellant found no merits in it and had further conceded with the view of CPIO that disclosure of the records would be a potential cause for the incitement of offences of varied nature and a threat to the internal security of the State. [Navdeep Gupta v. CPIO, CIC/IARMY/A/2017/602079/SD, dated, 27-03-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While addressing a bail application under Section 439  CrPC, 1973, the Single Judge bench of Sudip Ahluwalia J., explained the fundamental nature and essence of the constituents that would amount to waging war in respect of social media platforms.

The brief facts of the case state that the petitioner was charged under Sections 121/121-A of IPC and Sections 10 and 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.  For the charged offences petitioner claims that they are not established on prosecution material.

The contentions on behalf of the petitioner which have been placed before the court take reliance from the decision of the Apex Court in , Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab, (1995) 3 SCC 214, in which conviction was placed upon for the offences under Sections 124-A and 153-A Indian Penal Code, 1860 and was further set aside by stating that “The learned trial Judge, to say the least, seems to have drawn upon his imagination a course not permissible for a Court of Law.”

The counter placed on behalf of the State was that, petitioner’s involvement was not only in propaganda and inciting people to resort to violence leading to waging war against the Government of India, in fact, it also constituted provocative messages from leaders of terrorist groups based in Pakistan on social media/ facebook which is accessible to innumerable people around the world.

Therefore, the Hon’ble High Court on noting the facts of the case stated that in the present case the reliance placed by the petitioner on the case of Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab, (1995) 3SCC 214 would not be applied. In the instant case the incitement is on social media platform which is accessible to the world and not just a limited crowd as was the case in the relied case of the Supreme Court, further bail was not granted and the petitioner was stated to be liable under Section 122 of IPC which is at par punishable with Section 121-A for which he is already facing trial. [Arvinder Singh v. State of Punjab, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 762, dated 01-06-2018]