Government urges Supreme Court to scrap Rafale review plea

Attorney General KK Venugopal sparked a controversy last week when he told the court that the documents were stolen or purloined from the defence ministry.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its orders on two preliminary objections taken by the Centre against the use of the recently-published Rafale documents produced in the review pleas before the court. The Centre had argued that these documents were “photocopied” “without authorisation” –– an act tantamount to “theft” and that these were “privileged” documents relating to national security which could not be examined by any court.

A three-judge bench will examine whether to allow a plea to review its earlier ruling, which had given a virtual allclear to the Rafale deal, after it has crossed these initial legal hurdles raised by the government on the court re-examining the issue.

The bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, reserved its orders on these preliminary issues after hearing Attorney General KK Venugopal and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, former minister Arun Shourie and PIL petitioners Manoharlal Sharma and Vineet Dhana, through senior advocate Vikas Singh. The other judges on the bench were Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph. KK Venugopal argued that the government was well within its rights to claim “privilege” over the documents.

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