Govt sets up bureaucratic committee to examine Official Secrets Act, RTI Act

New Delhi: Government today constituted a three-member bureaucraticcommittee to go into implications of the Official Secrets Act and the RTI Act as demands mounted for declassification of files related to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

Home Secretary L C Goyal
Home Secretary L C Goyal

The first meeting of the panel, which consists of Secretaries of Home, Law and Personnel, will take place tomorrow, official sources said today.

Sources said the constitution of the panel and the meeting tomorrow have nothing to do with the controversy surrounding Bose.

However, the government’s move came amidst growing demands for declassification of nearly 90 files which are yet to be made public. Interestingly, a grandnephew of Bose, Surya Kumar Bose, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin yesterday and requested him declassify all files related to events since his death or disappearance in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.

The issue of Netaji related files came to the fore last week when a controversy broke out following reports that his family was kept under surveillance by the Intelligence Bureau for 20 years, much of it during the tenure of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Sources said among nearly 90 classified files relating to Bose, around 27 are with the Ministry of External Affairs while rest with the Prime Minister’s Office.

There is no file related to the freedom fighter with the Home Ministry as all have already been declassified and handed over to the National Archives.

The committee will examine certain provisions of the Official Secret Act and the Right to Information Act and whether and how much old official files could be declassified, sources said.