Top Court reserves verdict on documents submitted by petitioners in Rafale case

The Supreme Court has reserved its order on whether the Court would examine the documents submitted by Prashant Bhushan and other petitioners in the review petitions filed in the Rafale deal.

The Centre has argued that these documents are privileged and cannot be produced in court without its permission.

The petitioners, on the other hand, have argued that not everything can be brushed aside in the name of national security.

AG(Attorney General) K K Venugopal, representing the Central Government, referred to section 123 of the Evidence Act and provisions of RTI Act to buttress his claim.

However, Justice Joseph said that RTI Act even applies for sensitive information in cases of corruption and human rights violation, clearly rejecting the government arguments.

The A-G has urged the Apex Court to remove the leaked-out pages from the review petitions since the government is claiming its privilege over these documents.

On the next date, the Supreme Court of India will set the schedule of hearing the review petitions.

Also, Former Union Minister Arun Shourie thanked the A-G and the Govt for accepting the genuineness of the documents.

He said,”We thank the A-G that by saying in their affidavit that these are photocopies, they have proved the genuineness of these documents.”

Amongst the petitioners, Prashant Bhushan, cited the Pentagon Papers case of US, in which Defence documents in connection to the Vietnam War were allowed to be published. The US Supreme Court in  their judgment had rejected the then, government’s claim of National Security, said Bhushan.

Also, Bhushan cited the United State’s SC judgment to buttress the claim that documents illegally acquired are admissible as evidence in court.

Prashant Bhushan told the Supreme Court that the Govt. has itself filed a detailed report regarding as many as 10 different defence purchases. Now, it is untenable on the Government to claim the privilege.

And Rafale is the only case where they redacted pricing details, said Bhushan.

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