Supreme Court to consider early hearing request for review of Rafale ruling
CJI Gogoi, however, refused to give a specific date for the hearing saying that an appropriate bench of the Supreme Court is yet to be constituted in the matter.Updated: Feb 21, 2019 12:40 IST
The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to look into request for for early hearing of a plea filed for the review of judgment on Rafale deal. Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi told petitioner Prashant Bhushan that he would consider his plea for early hearing in the Rafale case.
CJI Gogoi, however, refused to give a specific date for the hearing saying that an appropriate bench of the Supreme Court is yet to be constituted in the matter. CJI Gogoi told Bhushan that he would do something for the listing of the case.
India and France signed a defence deal in 2016, replacing the one being negotiated during the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. The deal ran into controversy with the opposition parties led by the Congress alleged irregularities and favouritism in the Rafale contract.
The government rejected the allegations leveled by the Congress and other opposition parties saying that the Rafale deal was in the best interest of the country.
Some people including former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, and Bhushan filed petitions seeking the Supreme Court’s direction for a probe into the Rafale deal. The Supreme Court had delivered its judgment in December last year. The apex court ruling virtually vindicated the government’s stand that due process was followed in finalising the Rs 59,000 crore deal with France.
The court refused to order a probe into the deal and also ruled out “commercial favouritism” in the defence contract. The apex court ruling fuelled more controversy over reference to the Rafale deal pricing details having been seen by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.
The Congress leaders including party president Rahul Gandhi countered it saying the CAG report on Rafale had not come to the PAC. Fresh media reports gave more ammunition to the opposition, which tried to corner the government over the issue.
The government blamed the reference to CAG in the Supreme Court ruling on typographical error and moved a plea for correction in the judgment.
Later, more petitions were filed in the Supreme Court seeking review of its judgment in the case. Bhushan is one of the petitioners seeking review of the Supreme Court judgment on Rafale deal alleging that the government misled the court and tried to hide information from it.
The apex court is yet to constitute a bench for hearing the petitions for review of the December ruling in Rafale deal case. Meanwhile, on February 15, the Supreme Court expressed unhappiness with some of the review pleas pointing out that defective petitions were filed with the intention of seeking publicity in media.
First Published: Feb 21, 2019 11:24 IST