Hours after the Supreme Court’s order on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal case review petitions, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Wednesday claimed that petitioners are using documents with the intention to present “a selective and incomplete picture” of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to national security and defence.
In a statement, the MoD said, “in the review petitions, the petitioners have relied upon the documents, some of which could not have been placed in public domain.” It stated that the central government was of the view that the said documents may not be considered as they are classified while considering review petitions.
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“The documents presented by the petitioners are failing to bring out how the issues were addressed and resolved and necessary approvals of the competent authorities taken. These are selective and incomplete presentation of the facts and records by the petitioners,” the MoD statement read.
Asserting that the government had provided requisite information as directed by the apex court to the court, petitioners, and the CAG, the MoD further said the main concern of the government was relating to the availability of sensitive and classified information concerning national security in the public domain.
Earlier in the day, the top court had rejected the preliminary objections raised by the Centre on the admissibility of certain documents sought to be relied on by petitioners seeking review in the Rafale matter. The said documents were published by The Hindu newspaper and later carried by news agency ANI.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph was unanimous that the review petitions should be adjudicated on its own merit in the light of the three documents submitted by the petitioners seeking review of its December 14, 2018 judgment that had rejected the plea for an investigation into allegations of corruption in the deal.
The bench had on March 14 reserved its decision after hearing the Centre and the petitioners — former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and advocate Prashanth Bhushan — on the question of admissibility of these documents.