Rafale Deal: SC reserves order on admissibility of the ‘leaked’ documents

Supreme Court: Making it clear that it will decide first on the preliminary objections raised by the Centre and then go into the facts of the Rafale fighter jet deal case, the 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph, JJ reserved it’s order on the preliminary objections regarding admissibility of the leaked documents.

Attorney General K K Venugopal had argued that the Government had privilege over documents pertaining to the Rafale fighter jet deal with France and that no one can produce them in the court without the permission of the department concerned. He referred to section 123 of the Evidence Act and provisions of RTI Act and said that no one can publish documents which relate to national security as the security of the State supercedes everything.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners seeking review, opposed the submission and said that the Rafale deal documents, which AG says are privileged, have been published and are already in public domain. He said that provisions of RTI Act say public interest outweighs other things and no privilege can be claimed except for documents which pertain to intelligence agencies. He also argued that the Press Council of India Act provides provisions for protecting sources of journalists.

In the case that has become a high voltage Courtroom drama, the government told the Court last week that documents related to the Rafale fighter jet deal have been stolen from the Defence Ministry. The Hindu newspaper had published articles on the Rafale deal that were allegedly based on the said documents.

The Hindu Publishing Group Chairman N Ram said those documents were published in public interest as the details of the Rafale deal were withheld or covered up. He said:

“You may call it stolen documents…we are not concerned. We got it from confidential sources and we are committed to protecting these sources. Nobody is going to get any information from us on these sources. But the documents speak for themselves and the stories speak for themselves.”

Yesterday, the Court had allowed the Defence Ministry to file an affidavit in the matter.

(With inputs from Business Standard)

4 comments

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    The Supreme court is suggested to keep aside the cases like Saradha, Sahara group and Vyapam scams for time being. Now it is time to give the verdict on the Largest Scam in Indian history on Rafale deal.

    It is very very very very ………. serious than any other scam as the PM Modi is directly involved at the moment as per the petitioners, and the people are anxiously waiting to know, was Rafale deal was really a Scam? or a Fair deal?

    The whole country expects and strongly hope the Supreme Court do the justice soonest without being influenced by anyone before the elections so that everyone can vote decisively to the right and incorrupt.

    ( The above letter is in response to the news ” Saradh chit fund case Very Very Serious Revelations made by CBI in status report, says SC ) Times of India 26th March 2019.

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    The whole country wants to know why the Rafale Scam Case is unnecessarily prolonging in SC when the hidden proofs of the Rafale scam in defence files are out and produced in the court by the petitioners to which the CAG is accepting as true and authentic but saying photocopies are not allowed. It looks to everyone in the country that CAG is above all the Supreme Court judges as he is trying to dictate the terms by vague and absurd arguments with lot of U-Turns and n saying dismiss the case without going into details of the proofs due to security reasons when the scam is already in the public domain.

    The people of the country hope the Supreme Court will boldly brush aside the lame excuses and silly arguments of CAG to save PM Modi and BJP government and give the verdict without dismissing the Rafale scam case soonest, before the start of the general elections.

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    Here is an appeal to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and other Hon’ble judges of the Supreme Court to kindly speed up the hearing of Rafale scam case on urgent bases in order to help yourselves, your fellow citizens and the whole country, so that everyone may know what is the real truth about the Rafale deal. Was it a Scam or a Fair deal?
    In less than a month’s time Loksabha elections is starting and the people are really confused in view of the present circumstances and wants to know which party is clean and deserved to be voted in order to rule for the next five years .

    Last but not least the verdict on the Rafale case would certainly become a criteria to judge which parties deserved to be voted for the next Loksabha elections. I request once again to all the Hon’ble judges who are probing the Rafale scam under the review petitions, not to delay but kindly give the verdict as soon as possible and well before the end of March 2019. I Strongly hope the CJI and his team will do the justice, without being influenced by CAG or the government and set an example to the world to show the way of great service to the nation.

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    In the latest hearing of Rafale scam case in the Supreme Court, the CAG after taking U-Turns now pressing the SC again to dismiss the case and said they cannot show the pages of Rafale deal even to the SC because it is very confidential and the defense ministry say the disclosure will help our enemies as they will know capabilities of Rafale jets.

    Since we are living in an age of information and age of knowledge explosion and it is very difficult to maintain secrecy and hide the truth whether in Frauds/Scams or in the procurement of defense deals like Rafale. The most striking facts and the features of most lethal fighter jet Rafale is now available and being shown in Indian news television media and also available on the internet.
    Therefore, the country wants to know as the CAG and the government say the Petitioners are guilty of penal offences for photocopying and publishing secret documents of defense deals, so at the same time the whole country wants to know if the most advanced secret capabilities of Dassault- Rafale jets being shown and displayed in Indian news channels and internet, then should they also be declared guilty and cases be booked against them for revealing the secrets?
    Last but not least, I hope the Supreme Court would definitely take up this argument seriously and resume hearing of this case without any pre-conditions from CAG and without removing the leaked out pages from the review petitions and this a real test to see whether SC withstand the pressure of government and do the justice or succumb to the pressure of government by accepting the government is above all including the SC.

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