#RafaleHearing: SC rejects Center's objections against use of stolen documents
The Supreme Court has rejected the Center's objections to the use of "secret" documents stolen from the Defense Ministry for considering review petitions in the Rafale case. The SC stated the review pleas will be heard on merits, adding it will fix a date for the hearing. The petitions seek a review of the SC's previous judgment, giving a clean chit to the Center.
Supreme Court dismisses Centre's preliminary objections
Supreme Court dismisses Centre's preliminary objections seeking review of earlier judgment giving clean chit to the Union Government in Rafale deal. pic.twitter.com/PHJpbFiquS— ANI (@ANI) April 10, 2019
Supreme Court allows admissibility of three documents in Rafale deal
The Supreme Court has allowed the admissibility of three documents as evidence in the Rafale case for re-examining the review petitions filed against the SC's previous judgment. The SC had last year refused to order a probe into the procurement of Rafale jets from France.
Documents to be used as evidence in re-examining review pleas
Supreme Court allows admissibility of three documents in Rafale deal as evidence in re-examining the review petitions filed against the SC's December 14 judgement refusing to order probe in procuring 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. https://t.co/zqqdrTx8YS— ANI (@ANI) April 10, 2019
Classified documents can now be considered as evidence
A three-judge bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph has stated the SC would "go ahead" with the hearing of review petitions taking into consideration the documents cited by the petitioners Center in the Rafale deal. The court's decision essentially means the "classified documents" can be considered as evidence and a basis for reviewing the SC's previous verdict.
SC to fix date for commencing detailed hearing of petitions
The CJI-led three-judge bench will now fix a date for the commencement of a detailed hearing on the review pleas alleging wrongdoing in the Rafale deals. The petitions question the pricing of Rafale fighter jets as well as the appointment of Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence Limited as the offset partner of France's Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale jets.
Rafale deal-related documents stolen from Defense Ministry: Center to SC
Earlier in March, the government told the Supreme Court that "secret" Rafale deal-related documents were stolen from the Defense Ministry and petitioners filing review pleas in the matter were relying on classified documents, violating the Official Secrets Act. Former Union ministers, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, and advocate Prashant Bhushan had filed a review petition while AAP MP Sanjay Singh filed another.
Classified documents photocopied without authorization: Center
However, the Center had in March pleaded that the classified documents attached to the review petitions filed in the Rafale case were "photocopied" from Defense Ministry files without authorization. The Center told the SC that these files would affect national security.
Delighted at SC's unanimous verdict dismissing Center's arguments: Arun Shourie
"We are delighted at (the SC's) unanimous verdict dismissing Centre's argument on admissibility of documents," said Arun Shourie. "Our argument was that because the documents relate to Defence, you must examine them. You asked for these evidence and we have provided it... Court has accepted our pleas and rejected the arguments of the government," Shourie was quoted by ANI as saying.
Here's what Arun Shourie stated
Arun Shourie, who filed review plea in Rafale deal verdict: Our argument was that because the documents relate to Defence you must examine them. You asked for these evidence we have provided it. So Court, has accepted our pleas rejected the arguments of the Govt. pic.twitter.com/5S2xI0lkiV— ANI (@ANI) April 10, 2019