OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT (OSA) 1923 (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Security)

News-CRUX-10     4th June 2024        

Context: Recently, a Nagpur court handed down a life sentence to Nishant Pradeep kumar Agrawal, a former engineer at BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, convicting him for espionage on behalf of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and for violating several sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and the IT Act.

Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1923

  • About: It serves as India’s primary anti-spying legislation, aiming to protect national interests.
  • Historical Background: Originating in the British colonial era, the Act finds its roots in the Indian Official Secrets Act of 1889, aimed at stifling dissent against British policies.
  • Provisions

oThe Act expanded its provisions in 1923 to safeguard government privacy and secrecy, especially concerning national security.

oDefined Obligations: High-ranking government officials, their contractors, and those contracted to protect confidential information are legally bound by the Act.

oIdentification of Foreign Agents: The Act defines "foreign agents" as individuals suspected of working for foreign authorities, posing a threat to national security.

oProhibited Activities: Entering restricted areas or aiding others in doing so, as well as gathering or communicating sensitive information detrimental to national safety, is strictly prohibited.

oPenalties: Violations of the Act, especially those endangering state security, are punishable by imprisonment for up to three years, with the possibility of extension.


  • About: It holds the title of the fastest cruise missile globally, clocking in at Mach 2.8, which is nearly three times the speed of sound.
  • Deployment Options: BrahMos variants are deployable from land, air, and sea, showcasing its versatility and adaptability across different military scenarios.
  • Integral to Indian Armed Forces: All three variants of BrahMos are actively in service within the Indian armed forces, highlighting its significant role in bolstering defense capabilities.
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