Earlier, the court had made it clear that it will decide first on the preliminary objections raised by the Centre and then go into the facts of the Rafale fighter jet deal case.
The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on Centre government claiming privilege over leaked documents in Rafale case. Earlier, the court had made it clear that it will decide first on the preliminary objections raised by the Centre and then go into the facts of the Rafale fighter jet deal case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had asked the petitioners seeking review of its order to focus on the preliminary objections regarding the admissibility of the leaked documents. “Only after we decide the preliminary objection raised by the Centre, we will go into the facts of the case,” the bench had said.
Attorney General K K Venugopal claimed privilege over documents related to the Rafale fighter jet deal and told the top court that no one can produce them in the court without the permission of the department concerned. He referred to section 123 of the Evidence Act and provisions of the RTI Act to buttress his claim.
The AG further told the apex court that no one can publish documents which relate to national security as the security of the State supercedes everything. However, Prashant Bhushan opposed the submission and said that the Rafale documents have been published and are already in the public domain.
Referring to the RTI Act, Bhushan said that public interest outweighs other things and no privilege can be claimed except for documents which pertain to intelligence agencies. He further said that there is no government-to-government contract in purchasing Rafale as there is no sovereign guarantee extended to India by France in the Rs 58,000 crore deal.