Blow to Modi govt: SC allows use of 'privileged' Rafale documents

Supreme Court Sanjay Ahlawat (File) Supreme Court | Sanjay Ahlawat

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the Narendra Modi government's contention that documents about the purchase of 36 Rafale fighters were inadmissible when considering review pleas over the deal. The government claimed the documents, which it claimed were “stolen” by some media groups, were related to national security.

The Supreme Court also announced it would set dates soon for hearing review petitions filed against its December 2018 verdict that found no irregularity in the Rafale deal.

The three-member bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph pronounced the verdict on the issue of the Narendra Modi government claiming privileges on the issue of releasing documents associated with the Rafale deal. The Modi government had claimed the documents, which it argued were related to national security, were exempt from provisions of the RTI Act and could not be considered as evidence under Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act.

The Supreme Court had on March 14 reserved its verdict on the issue of the Modi government claiming privileges over these documents.