SC to hear Rafale deal review petition today

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will hear the review petition against its December 14 order in the Rafale deal row on Thursday.


On December 14 last year, the top court had dismissed all petitions seeking court-monitored probe into Rafale fighter jet deal with France, saying that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the deal.

On Wednesday, the government had filed a fresh affidavit in the apex court in the Rafale case.

It pointed out that “unauthorisedly-accessed documents related to internal secret deliberations had been presented in a selective manner to mislead the court and amounted to damaging national security”.

The Ministry of Defence sought dismissal of both the review petition and the miscellaneous application in the matter while contending 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”.

It told the court that the documents attached by the petitioners in the Rafale review case sensitive to national security and related to war capacity of the combat aircraft.

The government said the unauthorised photocopying of such documents has adversely affected the sovereignty, security and friendly relations with the foreign countries.

“Those who have conspired in the leakage are guilty of penal offences including theft by unauthorized photocopying and leakage of sensitive official documents affecting national security. These matters are now subject of an internal enquiry which commenced on February 28”, the affidavit said.

“It is an utmost concern to the central government to find out where the leakage took place, so that in future the sanctity of decision-making process in governance is maintained”, the Defence Ministry said.

“The petitioners are using unauthorisedly accessed documents with the intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to national security and defence”, it said.

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.

On January 2, petitioners in Rafale fighter jet deal case-Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, both former Union Ministers, and Prashant Bhushan, a noted lawyer, had moved the apex court for review of its Rafale judgement of December 14.

They have asked for recalling of the judgement, and they have also asked to grant an oral hearing in the open court for their review plea.

Their petition states that the December 14 verdict contained several errors and also it relied upon patently incorrect claims made by the Government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover to the court, which is a violation of the principle of natural justice.

They also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had signed an agreement for 36 Rafale jets on April 10, 2015, without any such requirement of 36 jets being given by the Air Force Headquarters and without the approval of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which are the mandated first steps for any defence procurement.

 

 

With inputs from ANI

 

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