New Delhi: The Supreme Court in an unanimous judgment Wednesday rejected the preliminary objections raised by the Central government, as a result the Rafale review petitions will now be heard on merits. The court will look into the documents published.
The court rejected the Centre’s claim of privilege over the three documents that were annexed by the former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, journalist Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan in their plea.
The plea sought the recall and review of 2018 judgment giving clean chit to the government for acquiring 36 ready-to-fly Rafale fighter jets.
The top court by its December 14, 2018, judgment had said the decision making process for acquiring the jets was not in doubt.
Dismissing the preliminary objections by the government, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, also speaking for Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul, said the review petition has to be heard by taking into account three documents whose admissibility was questioned by the government.
Gogoi said the date for the hearing of the review petition by Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan would be given by a separate order. Justice KM Joseph gave a separate but concurring judgment.
The top court March 14 reserved the order on the “preliminary issue and the claim of privilege by the government”. The government, while seeking privilege over the documents annexed by Sinha, Shourie, and Bhushan, had sought the removal of three privileged documents from the case records which it had claimed put in the public domain the information relating to the national security and the combat capacity of the fighter jet.
The government had initially claimed that the documents were stolen but later backtracked, and changed its stance saying that they were “unauthorisedly photocopied”.
Sinha, Shourie, and Bhushan had annexed three documents with their two pleas – seeking the review of the court’s December 14, 2018 judgment giving a clean chit to the government in the decision-making process and an application alleging perjury against the government officials for misleading the court and suppressing material information relating to Rafale deal.
EC stalls Modi biopic, NaMo TV
he Election Commission (EC) Wednesday stopped the release of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biopic and also ordered a ban on NaMo TV till the Lok Sabha elections conclude, saying any material which disturbs a level playing field should not be displayed.
“Any biopic in the nature of biography or hagiography sub-serving the purposes of any political entity or any individual entity connected to it or which has the potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections should not be displayed in electronic media, including cinematograph during the operation of model code of conduct (MCC),” the EC said in its order. It also said any poster or publicity material concerning such certified content which either depicts a candidate for furtherance of electoral prospect directly or indirectly shall not be put to display in the electronic media in the area where MCC is in force. An EC official said restrictions would also apply to NaMo TV – a channel dedicated to Modi’s rallies and speeches. The order issued by the poll-panel added that in case of a violation, a committee constituted by the Commission would examine the same and suggest appropriate action. The committee would be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or a retired Chief Justice of a high court. The poll panel said it had received complaints about certain films, namely “NTR Laxmi”, “PM Narendra Modi” and “Udyama Simham”, which “claimed to either diminish or advance the electoral prospect of a candidate or a political party in the garb of creative freedom”. The Commission added there is an emergent need for intervention in such political content.