SC reserves order on Centre’s affidavit saying documents filed by petitioners jeopardize national security

New Delhi:

Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on objections raised by the Central Government that the documents presented by petitioners while seeking review of Rafale verdict are privileged and sensitive to national security.

The Defence Ministry had filed an affidavit saying that the documents attached by the petitioners Arun Shorie, Yashwant Sinha and Prashant Bhusan  puts national security on jeopardy.  The Defence Ministry said that the documents were copied without the consent of the government and disclosure of the document adversely affected the Sovereignty, Security and Friendly Relations with the foreign countries.

Attorney General K. K. Venugopal argued that the documents cannot be considered in evidence as per Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act. The documents are protected under the Official Secrets Act. AG said that the disclosure of these documents is also exempted under the Right to Information Act.

Prashant Bhushan, argued that claim of privilege cannot be made over documents which are already in public domain. He alleged that the concern of the government is not to protect national security, but to protect the government officials who interfered with the negotiations in the deal.