NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider a plea by Major General (retired) V K Singh against the Delhi High Court's judgement, dismissing his plea for quashing a 2007 CBI FIR and charge sheet filed against him for allegedly revealing secret information by publication of his book titled as 'India's External Intelligence- Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)'.
A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Prashant Kumar Mishra, however, allowed the petitioner, represented by senior advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani on to approach the trial court by filing a discharge application.
The petitioner contended the whole case arose out of vendetta. The court, however, asked him, "so you would take revenge against the country".
In his plea, Singh contended he has sought to highlight two major issues, that is, lack of accountability and corruption in RAW, the country's external intelligence agency.
He also claimed the provisions of the Official Secrets Act were unconstitutional for violative of fundamental rights.
"The respondent is taking undue advantage of the provisions to incriminate the accused/petitioner herein for the aforesaid offences without a shred of evidence to exact personal vendetta against him for bringing out the huge corruption and other malpractices which is happening within the RAW which goes unchecked as the their books of accounts are not audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General like in cases of other central government departments due to the secretive nature of its operation and functioning," it said.
A single bench of the Delhi High Court had on May 31, 2023 noted the grievance of the CBI, with regard to disclosure of the names of the officer, location of the places and recommendations of the Group of Ministers etc.
"What prejudices the national security cannot be decided by the courts...Thus, it would be a matter of trial after the witnesses are examined to see whether the revelations by the petitioner in his book is likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India and/or the security of the State," the bench had said.
The CBI had registered the case against Singh on September 20, 2007 under the Official Secrets Act on a complaint filed by B Bhattacharjee, Deputy Secretary, Government of India, Cabinet Secretariat.
In its 49-page order, the HC had said even though the “entire tenor of the book of the petitioner highlights certain irregularities etc, at RAW”, however, the CBI’s grievance was with respect “to the names of the officer, location of the places and recommendations of the GOM etc”.
"Even in the present case, the recommendations of the GOM, which were deleted from publication, have been reproduced verbatim by the petitioner," the bench had said.
The court had also pointed out the petitioner has heavily relied upon some other books and articles wherein references have been made to the recommendations of the GOM but it may be noted that in none of those articles or publications the recommendations of the GOM have been reproduced verbatim.