Rafale deal: SC to first decide on Centre's objections, then check facts

Updated: Mar 15, 2019, 11:54 IST | Agencies

Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reserved the order on the plea, which also sought removal of the documents from the case records

Rafale deal: SC to first decide on Centre's objections, then check facts
A Congress supporter holds a model of a Rafale jet during a protest in New Delhi. File pic/AFP

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will decide first on the preliminary objections raised by the Centre and then go into the facts of the Rafale fighter jet deal case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi wrapped up the hearing on preliminary objections by the Centre that review petitioners in the Rafale jet deal case cannot rely on privileged documents obtained illegally. It will be known later as to when the order will be pronounced on the issue.

The top court asked the petitioners seeking review of its order to focus on the preliminary objections regarding admissibility of the leaked documents. "Only after we decide the preliminary objections raised by the Centre, we will go into the facts of the case," said the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.

At the outset, Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, claimed privilege over documents pertaining to the Rafale fighter jet deal with France and told the Supreme Court that no one can produce them in the court without the permission of the department concerned.

He told the court that no one could publish documents, which relate to national security, as the state's security supercedes everything. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners seeking review, opposed the submission and said the deal documents, which AG says are privileged, have been published and are already in public domain.

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