On Wednesday the Narendra Modi- led BJP government informed the Supreme Court of India that the petitioners seeking review of the Rafale Deal judgement are ‘guilty of leakage of sensitive information’ as the documents filed by them are ‘sensitive to national security’.
In December 2018, the Supreme Court stated that there was no ‘occasion to really doubt’ the government’s decision-making process and turned down the petitioners.
After several developments, former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and advocate-activist Prashant Bhushan filed a review petition in February 2019.
The review petition contained new information in the form of Defence Ministry documents and media reports.
When the RAFALE matter was heard last week, the Centre said that some documents were stolen from the Defence Ministry and that a probe had been ordered for the same.
On Wednesday (March 13), in an affidavit filed by defence secretary Sanjay Mitra, the government has argued that by annexing those documents in their challenge to the SC judgement, the review petitioners have put ‘national security’ in peril.
The affidavit said,”Without consent, permission or acquiescence of the Central Government, those who have conspired in making the photocopy of these sensitive documents and annexing it to the review petition/ miscellaneous application and thereby committing theft by unauthorised photocopying of such documents… have adversely affected the sovereignty, security and friendly relations with foreign countries”
It added, “The petitioners are using unauthorisedly accessed documents with the intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to National Security and Defence.”
On the question of Centre government’s movement to trace the source of the leak, the affidavit stated that it is now a ‘subject of an internal enquiry’ which was initiated on 28th February.