New Delhi: The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict today on the government’s objection to the hearing over a batch of petitions seeking a review of its December 14, 2018, judgement in the Rafale jets purchase matter. A bench of Chief Justice Rajan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K M Joseph will decide if the documents submitted by the review petitioners can be taken as evidence in the court.
The Government had told the apex court last month that documents related to the Rafale aircraft deal were stolen from the Ministry of Defence. In fact, the Government had also threatened The Hindu newspaper with the Official Secrets Act for publishing articles alleging irregularities in the Rafael deal.
It had also sought a dismissal of the petitions in an affidavit submitted last month in the apex court. The Government had told the apex court that certain documents which had been submitted by the review petitioners were sensitive to national security and their unauthorised photocopying and leakage amounted to penal offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including theft.
In its affidavit, the MoD had stated that the ones who had helped in releasing the documents related to the Rafale deal were guilty as charged. It read, “Those who’ve conspired in this leakage are guilty of penal offences including theft by unauthorised photocopying and leakage of sensitive official documents affecting national security. These matters are now subject of an internal enquiry which commenced on February 28.”
There are two review petitions in the Rafale matter. While one is by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan, the other is by AAP MP Sanjay Singh.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan had earlier said, “We have also made a supplementary affidavit based on reports by The Hindu’s Narasimman Ram.” To which, CJI Gogoi said, “We don’t want any supplementary stuff. We have read what all you have given us.” On February 26, the apex court had agreed to hear these petitions in an open court.