The Supreme Court has rejected the government’s objections to the admissibility of certain documents that were relied on by the review petitioners in the Rafale matter.
The decision is a setback for the government, which had initially termed these documents — first published by The Hindu and then by the news agency ANI — as having been “stolen” from the Defence Ministry, and had threatened to invoke The Official Secrets Act against the publications that carried them.
Subsequently, however, Attorney General K K Venugopal informed the court that the papers were unauthorisedly photocopied and leaked, and that they “are sensitive to National Security which relates to war capacity of combat aircraft”, and should not be in the public domain. Read in Bangla
The Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogol and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, which turned down the government’s objections, was, however, unanimous that the review petition will be adjudicated on its own merit in the light of these documents (three in number).
The court will now hear arguments on whether these documents raise any doubts about the deal for purchase of the 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
On the basis of these documents, the petitioners had sought a review of the Supreme Court’s December 14, 2018 judgment that had rejected the plea for an investigation into allegations of corruption in the deal.