SC reserves order on Rafale review petitions, dropping Rahul Gandhi contempt case
New Delhi, May 10: The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its order on Rafale review petitions against its December 14, 2018 judgement upholding the 36 Rafale jets' deal as well as on the contempt proceedings against Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The review petitions have been filed against the Court's December 2018 judgment, by which it dismissed petitions calling for an investigation into the Rafale deal.
The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph.
AG KK Venugopal said, pricing of Rafale deal is covered under Article 10 of inter-government agreement and was not supposed to be discussed in public domain. It's question of national security and no other court in the world will examine a defence deal on these kinds of arguments.
Petitioners Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan had told the court yesterday that the Centre misled and played fraud upon the apex court to obtain favourable order in the case.
Bhushan told the court that in its judgement, it had failed to note that the petitions were for an investigation into the matter. The lawyer claimed that the court had proceeded on the basis that the petition was against the deal. "The other ground is that the judgement relied on incorrect and incomplete facts supplied by the central government," he added.
In March, the government had urged the court to dismiss the review petitions. However, on April 10, the Supreme Court had said it would go ahead with the hearings even if the petitions were based on stolen and classified documents, according to the government. Earlier this month, the Centre told the Supreme Court in another affidavit that the decision of the Prime Minister's Office to monitor the Rafale jet deal cannot be construed as interference as implied by a media report.
On Thursday, the Centre filed a reply affidavit in the top court, saying the demand for perjury proceedings against some public servants in the case was misconceived, PTI reported. The review petitions have sought perjury action against unknown government officials for allegedly misleading the court during hearings last year.
Also, the Court reserved verdict in the contempt petition filed by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for remarking that Supreme Court had found "chowkidar chor hain" in its April 10 verdict in Rafale preliminary objections.
Rahul Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of treason and claimed he had acted as a middleman for industrialist Anil Ambani in the deal. Gandhi has used the phrase "chowkidar chor hai [the watchman is a thief]" to allege Modi is corrupt.