Supreme Court reserves order over ‘leaked’ Rafale documents

Rafale deal scam

New Delhi, March 14: The Supreme Court today reserved its order on Centre claiming privilege over the documents filed by petitioners – former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, journalist-turned politician Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan – in connection with the Rafale deal case.

After an hour-long hearing, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reserved the order on the plea which also sought removal of the documents from the case records.

During the hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Court that it should direct removal of the leaked pages from the review petitions as the government claims privilege over these documents.

In response to AG, the bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi said “What privilege do you (Attorney General) claim? They have already produced them in court.

Following this, Venugopal said “they have produced it after stealing it. State documents can’t be published without explicit permission”.

The central government had on Wednesday told the apex court that the petitioners, who were seeking a review of the court’s December 14 verdict giving a clean chit to the government in the Rafale deal, are guilty of leakage of sensitive information having a bearing on national security and combat capacity of the fighter jets.

In an affidavit, the centre stated the leaked information was now available to the “enemy/our adversaries”, adding those who have conspired in this leakage were guilty of penal offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code.

The Centre had contended that the documents which were unauthorisedly photocopied belonged to a class for which it was “entitled to claim privilege under Section 123 and 124 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.”

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