Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha and journalist Savio Rodrigues, filed a writ petition in the Apex Court on June 25, 2020. Via the petition they seek a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into a 2008 agreement.
The parties involved in this particular agreement include the United Progressive Alliance, headed by the INC, and the Communist Party of China. The parties entered into the agreement for exchange of sensitive information and greater co-operation. According to the petitioners, there is a high probability that this agreement may have compromised the national security of India. The agreement may have provided vital information to the Chinese Government. It is quite essential to understand the role the agreement played in the current tensions between India and China.
The MoU: The Elephant and The Dragon Join Hands
“Opportunity to consult each other on important bilateral, regional and international developments“. This was the motive with which India and China had entered into the agreement on August 7, 2007. The petition states that the 2008 agreement “may have matters involving national importance.” Furthermore, Rodrigues had questioned Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi about the agreement through his newspaper editorial. Mum expressions greeted him. He had also approached the Gandhis via a Republic TV show hosted by journalist Arnab Goswami. However, they refused to responded on this particular issue.
Therefore, after exhausting all possible avenues, they have approached the SC, seeking a NIA probe under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Additionally, they have raised the following issues in their petition, whether the:
- Right to Information (RTI) guaranteed to every Bharatiya could be snatched by a Political Party, even when it is concerned to the matter of National Interest?
- Nation Security could be sabotaged by an agreement with the enemy state?
- Agreement/MoU could be investigated by National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and secure the agreement?
The petition also states that they could not file a RTI in this case. This is so because political parties do not fall within the ambit of the statute.