Rafale case: Petitioners' documents jeopardised national security, government tells Supreme Court

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 13, 2019, 06.19 PM(IST)

File photo of the Rafale fighter jet. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The government again said the petitioners — Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha, and Prashant Bhushan; they have asked the Supreme Court to review its earlier judgement in the Rafale case — were guilty of leaking 'sensitive information'. 

The government on Wednesday filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court in the Rafale case, saying that “unauthorisedly-accessed” documents related to “internal secret deliberations” had been presented in a “selective” manner to mislead the top court and amounted to jeopardising national security.

The Ministry of Defence sought dismissal of both the review petition and the miscellaneous application in the matter even as it contended that “it has become imperative for the Union of India to seek removal of these documents from the record of the Review Petition and Miscellaneous application filed by the petitioners.”

The affidavit came days after details of some internal documents of the Defence Ministry related to the Rafale fighter deal came out in a section of the media.

Those who conspired in photocopying sensitive documents without Centre's consent to annex it in petition committed theft, Centre told SC and accused petitioners Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan of being guilty of leaking ''sensitive information''.

The Centre also told the court ''unauthorised photocopy of Rafale documents adversely affected Sovereignty, Security, friendly relations with foreign nations. These matters are now subject of an internal enquiry which commenced on February 28,” the affidavit added.

The Centre also accused the petitioners of using unauthorisedly accessed documents to present selective, incomplete picture of internal deliberations on national security and defence. 

“Petitioners have no authority whatsoever to produce the same before this Court without the explicit permission of the Government of India, Ministry of Defence. In fact, the said documents produced by the petitioners unauthorisedly are also exempt from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (a) of the Right to Information Act, 2005,” it said.

“Those who have conspired in this leakage are guilty of penal offences under the Indian Penal Code including theft by unauthorized photocopying and leakage of sensitive official documents affecting National Security,” the government said. 

(With inputs from agencies)