The Centre today claimed privilege over documents pertaining to the Rafale fighter jet deal and told the Supreme Court that no one can produce them in the court without the permission of the department concerned. Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, referred to section 123 of the Evidence Act and provisions of RTI Act to buttress his claim.
Attorney General KK Venugopal says the Supreme Court should direct the removal of the leaked pages from the review petitions as the government claims privilege over these documents.
The court asked the AG, “What privilege do you claim? They have already produced them in court.” The Attorney General replied that the papers were produced after stealing them. “State documents can’t be published without explicit permission,” the AG said.
The SC while referring to the RTI Act has overriding effect on Official Secrets Act as per Section 22 and Section 24 RTI Act says ‘even intelligence and security establishments are bound to give information about corruption and human rights violations’. “The security of state supersedes everything,” Venugopal said.
The hearing is currently underway before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.