Section 124 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Comments:

Principle:

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Section 124 lays down that a public officer cannot be compelled to disclose any communication made to him in confidence, if he considers that the public interest will suffer by such disclosure. This section is mainly confined to public officers. Any communication made to public officer in confidence is the essence of the section and its disclosure may lead to great public injury. Every citizen has a right to know how the State is functioning and why the State is withholding such information in such matters. The privilege extends only to communication upon the subject with respect to which the privilege extends, and the privilege can be claimed in exercise of the right or safeguard of the interest which creates the privilege.

Object:

Under this section it is court to decide the nature of communication made to public officers in confidence, whereas it is public officer to decide whether public interest would suffer in disclosure of such communication. Where examination of documents by the court satisfied that there was sufficient indication in communication and possible injury to the public interest if the document was allowed to be disclosed, privilege was allowed in respect of basic documents. It may be said that where there is apprehension of public injury the plea of privilege is legitimate and disclosure of documents is prohibited.