Dassault Rafale fighter jet (File photo)
Dassault Rafale fighter jet (File photo)

Petitioners using documents to present selective, incomplete picture on Rafale deal, says MoD

ANI | Updated: Apr 10, 2019 18:24 IST

New Delhi [India], Apr 10 (ANI): After the Supreme Court turned down the Centre's preliminary objections claiming 'privilege' over three Rafale documents cited in the review petition on the fighter jet deal, the Defence Ministry on Wednesday said that the petitioners are using the documents with intent to present a "selective and incomplete picture" on a matter relating to the national security.
"It is reiterated that the 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," said the Defence Ministry.
The ministry said that 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 a selective and incomplete presentation of the facts and records by the petitioners," the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
This comes after a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday allowed the admissibility of the three documents and said the review pleas will be heard on merits.
"We deem it proper to dismiss preliminary objections and hold and affirm the review petitions will be adjudicated on the basis of relevance of the three documents whose admissibility was questioned by respondents," Justice Gogoi said.
Reacting over the Supreme Court's verdict, the MoD said that the requisite information as desired by the Supreme Court was provided to it and also to the petitioners as per directions of the court and in the manner prescribed by it.
"The government also provided all records and files as required by the CAG. The main concern of the Government is relating to the availability of sensitive and classified information concerning National Security in the public domain," the MoD spokesperson said.
The review petitions were filed against the apex court’s December 14 judgement refusing to order a probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
The Centre had claimed "privilege" over the Rafale documents and their admissibility as evidence in the case.
The bench had said that it will take a decision first on the preliminary objections of the Centre on the admissibility of “stolen” privileged documents annexed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan in their review petition against the apex court's December 14 verdict.
The documents have already been published in the media. The Centre had also claimed that the documents were “unauthorisedly accessed" from the originals kept in the Ministry of Defence and leaked into the public domain.
The Central government had contended that the documents were protected under the Official Secrets Act and their disclosure was exempted under the Right to Information Act as per Section 8(1)(a). However, the apex court had said that Section 22 of the RTI Act gave an overriding effect over the Official Secrets Act. (ANI)