In Rafale verdict correction application, Centre tells SC what is past and present tense
New Delhi, Dec 16: Following a controversy that erupted over the judgment in the Rafale case, the Centre moved the Supreme Court seeking a correction. The statement in the verdict said that a report of the CAG on the pricing of the fighter jets has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee.
The Centre in its application stated that the portion that appeared in paragraph 25 of the verdict is an error. The Centre submitted that the error may have crept in due to misinterpretation of a couple of sentences in a note it had handed over to the court in a sealed cover. The Centre also urged the court to deal with the matter urgently.
The matter will now be placed before the senior most judge, as Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi is out of the country and would return only on December 19. The urgency of the matter would be decided by the senior most judge.
In its application, the Centre said, "seeking a correction with regard to two sentences in paragraph 25 of the judgment delivered by this Hon'ble Court on 14.12.2018 in the present case". It said, "the error in these 2 sentences, as explained hereinafter, appears to have occurred, perhaps, on account of a misinterpretation of a couple of sentences in a note handed over to this Hon'ble Court in a sealed cover".
The observations in the judgment have also resulted in a controversy in the public domain and would warrant correction by this Hon'ble Court in the interest of justice. The statement in paragraph 25 "appears to have been based on the note submitted by the Union of India, along with the pricing details, in two sealed covers, the Centre also said.
Further, the government said that the note submitted in response was in form of bullet points. The second bullet point said, " the government has already shared the pricing details with the CAG. The report of the CAG is examined by the PAC. Only a redacted version of the report is placed before the Parliament and in public.
It would be noted that what has already been done is described by words in the past tense ie the government has already shared the price details with the CAG. This is in the past tense and is factually correct. The second part of the sentence, in regard to the PAC is to the effect that the report of the CAG is examined by the PAC.
The Centre also pointed out that 'is' in the latter sentence in its note was replaced with 'has been'' in the judgment. The"submission... to the effect that the report of the CAG "is" examined by the PAC, was a description of the procedure which is followed in the normal course, in regard to the reports of the CAG."
The very fact that present tense 'is' is used would mean that the reference is to the procedure will be followed as and when the CAG report is ready. The statement that only a redacted version of the report "is" placed before Parliament, is referred to in the judgment as "only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament, and is in public domain," the Centre also said.