New Delhi— In a unanimous judgment on Wednesday, Supreme Court of India rejected the preliminary objections raised by the central government, as a result the Rafale review petitions will now be heard on merits. The court will look into the documents published.
The court rejected the Centre’s claim of privilege over the Rafale documents annexed by the petitioners that sought recall of review of the December 2018 judgement which gave a clean chit to the government for acquiring 36 Rafale fighter jets in ready-to-fly condition.
On Tuesday, during the hearing the Attorney General argued that the documents presented are privileged documents , which cannot be considered in evidence as per Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act. The documents are protected under the Official Secrets Act. The AG also added that the disclosure of the documents is exempted under the Right to Information Act as per Section 8(1)(a).
Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners, countered the submissions of AG by saying that claim of privilege cannot be made over documents which are already in public domain. He highlighted that Section 123 Indian Evidence Act only protected “unpublished documents”.
Promoting the judgement, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the preliminary objections by the Centre on the use of the three documents by the petitioners — former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, journalist-turned-politician Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan — were dismissed.
Justice K.M. Joseph pronounced a separate but concurring judgement. Chief Justice Gogoi also spoke for Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
The court said that it will give another date for the hearing of review petition.
Modi mislead the Supreme Court: Kejriwal
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the Supreme Court’s Rafale judgment shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi mislead the apex court over the issue.
“Modiji was saying everywhere that he got a clean chit in the Rafale matter. The judgment the SC gave today shows that Modi has stolen from the deal. He cheated with the army and to hide all this, he mislead the Supreme Court,” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
(With IANS inputs )