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Can 'Stolen' Documents in Rafale Case be Used as Evidence? Supreme Court to Decide Today

Can 'Stolen' Documents in Rafale Case be Used as Evidence? Supreme Court to Decide Today

The Central government had earlier claimed privilege over documents pertaining to Rafale deal and asserted that no one can produce them in the court without the permission of the department concerned.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear review pleas in Rafale jet case to decide if "stolen" Defence Ministry documents can be considered as evidence.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph will pronounce the judgment on Rafale review pleas. The Defence Ministry had earlier filed an affidavit in the apex court in connection with the fighter jet case, claiming that the documents submitted in the review petition are sensitive to national security.

In its affidavit, the government said, the petitioners — former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan — are guilty of leaking the sensitive information which has been widely circulated and is available to the country's enemy and adversaries.

The Central government had earlier claimed privilege over documents pertaining to Rafale deal and asserted that no one can produce them in the court without the permission of the department concerned. Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing in the Supreme Court, referred to section 123 of the Evidence Act and provisions of the RTI Act to buttress his claim.

Venugopal had informed the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench on March 6 that documents cited by The Hindu newspaper in its reports on the controversial Rafale deal were stolen and cannot be shown in court as it would affect national security. The government had also warned The Hindu with a case under Official Secrets Act for publishing articles based on these documents.

first published:April 10, 2019, 07:00 IST