SC decision on Rafale case review pleas: Defence Ministry says incomplete presentation of facts and records

In response to the Supreme Court decision on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal case review petitions, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said the petitioners were using documents with the intention of presenting a “selective and incomplete picture” of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to national security and defence.

In a unanimous judgment on Wednesday, the Supreme Court decided to hear the Rafale review petitions on merits on the basis of several documents published in the media, including in The Hindu.

In a statement, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said, “In the review petitions, the petitioners have relied upon the documents, some of which could not have been placed in public domain. The central government raised an objection that while considering review petitions, the said documents may not be considered as they are classified. In the order passed by the Supreme Court today, the Court has decided to look into the documents also while deciding the review petitions. The review petitions are pending and are yet to be heard.”

The Ministry stated that the court by a “well reasoned judgment” and order dated December 14, 2018 had dismissed the writ petitions.

The statement said the documents presented by the petitioners were failing to bring out how the issues were “addressed and resolved” and “necessary approvals” of the competent authorities taken. “These are selective and incomplete presentation of the facts and records by the petitioners,” it said.

The government had provided the requisite information as desired to the apex court and to the petitioners and all records and files to the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG), the statement said, adding, “The main concern of the Government is relating to availability of sensitive and classified information concerning national security in the public domain.”

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