The Defence Ministry on Wednesday said that the petitioners demanding a review of the 14 December 2018 Rafale deal case judgement by the Supreme Court are using documents to make a “selective and incomplete presentation of the facts”.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court admitted three documents connected to the Dassault Rafale fighter jet deal as evidence in the review petitions and dismissed the Centre’s “preliminary objections”.
“It’s reiterated that petitioners are using documents with intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to National Security and Defence,” the Defence Ministry said.
“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 statement added.
The Ministry further said that the government had provided “requisite information as desired by the Supreme Court and also provided all records and files as required by CAG”.
“The main concern of the Government is relating to availability of sensitive and classified information concerning National Security in the public domain,” the Ministry said.
Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, journalist Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan in their plea sought the recall and review of 2018 judgment giving clean chit to the government in the deal.
They annexed three documents, which the Centre claimed “privilege” over citing Official Secrets Act, 1923.
The government had said that the documents were stolen but later backtracked and changed its stance saying that they were “unauthorisedly photocopied” and constituted “penal offences under the Indian Penal Code including theft”.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph was unanimous that the review petitions should be heard in their own merit.
Reacting to the SC verdict, Shourie said, “Our argument was that because the documents relate to Defence you must examine them. You asked for these evidence and we have provided it. So Court has accepted our pleas and rejected the arguments of the government.”
The Supreme Court also said that “as far as the question of hearing of review plea on Rafale judgement is concerned, it will give a detailed hearing later on”.