Police Station Not A Prohibited Place Under Official Secrets Act: Court

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A police station is not included as a prohibited place as defined under the Official Secrets Act, and hence, shooting a video inside a police station cannot be an offence, the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench has observed.
A division bench of Justices Manish Pitale and Valmiki Menezes in July this year quashed a case lodged against one Ravindra Upadhyay under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for recording a video inside a police station in March 2018.

The bench in its order referred to section 3 and section 2(8) of the OSA pertaining to spying at prohibited places and noted that a police station is not specifically mentioned as a prohibited place in the Act.

“The definition of ‘prohibited place’ as defined in section 2(8) of the Official Secrets Act is relevant. It is an exhaustive definition, which does not specifically include a police station as one of the places or establishments, which could be included in the definition ‘prohibited place’,” the court said in its order.

Considering the aforesaid provisions, this Court is of the opinion that none of the ingredients of the alleged offence are made out against the applicant, it added.

According to the complaint, Mr Upadyay was at Wardha police station with his wife in connection with a dispute he had with his neighbour.

While Mr Upadhyay had lodged a complaint against the neighbour, a cross-complaint was being filed against him as well.

The police at the time realised that Mr Upadhyay was recording a video of the discussion taking place in the police station on his mobile phone.

The court quashed the FIR and subsequent charge sheet filed against Mr Upadhyay in the case.

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