Today's Paper

SC rejects Centre’s plea to keep Rafale documents secret

In unanimous support for freedom of Press in a democracy, the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the government’s plea to declare the Rafale jets’ purchase documents a secret, while upholding the right of free speech of The Hindu to publish the defence papers in a series of articles since February 2019.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who shared the lead judgment with Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said The Hindu ’s right to publish the Rafale documents was in consonance with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.

Objections rejected

With this, the apex court has dismissed preliminary objections raised by the government against petitions seeking a review of the December 14, 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court, which upheld the deal for purchase of 36 Rafale jets. The government had claimed that the review pleas were based on secret Rafale documents unauthorisedly removed from the Ministry of Defence and leaked to the media.

The dates of hearing the review petitions will be fixed later, the CJI said, after reading out the operative portion of his judgment.