India

Supreme Court warns Rahul on chowkidaar chor hai remark: Careful in future

Supreme Court warns Rahul on chowkidaar chor hai remark: Careful in future

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked former Congress president Rahul Gandhi not to drag the court into political discourse and cautioned him to be more careful in future. The court said this while closing the contempt proceedings against Rahul over his “chowkidaar chor hai” remarks in connection with the controversy over the Rafale deal.

Accepting Rahul’s apology, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, “We do believe that persons holding such important positions in the political spectrum must be more careful. As to what should be his campaign line is for a political person to consider. However, this court, or for that matter no court, should be dragged into this political discourse — valid or invalid — while attributing aspects to the court which had never been held by the court.” The court added, “Certainly Mr Gandhi needs to be more careful in future.”

The order came on a petition by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi over Rahul’s comments on April 10: that even the “Supreme Court had held that “Chowkidaar (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is a thief”.

The court order noted: “The Supreme Court was also attributed to having held in consonance with what his discourse was — i.e., that the Prime Minister of India stole money from the Air Force and gave it to Mr Anil Ambani, and that the Supreme Court had admitted that Mr Modi had indulged in corruption. It was stated that the Supreme Court had said that the Chowkidar is a thief.”

On being issued a notice, the Congress leader filed a reply affidavit on April 22.

It added, “However, in view of the subsequent affidavit, better sense having prevailed, we would not like to continue these proceedings further and, thus, close the contempt proceedings with a word of caution for the contemnor to be more careful in future.”

Court accepts Centre plea, modifies para

While dismissing the Rafale review petitions, the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the Centre’s plea seeking a correction in its December 14, 2018 judgment. The government had approached the court a day after the verdict seeking a “correction” in para 25 of the judgment, where it said that a CAG audit on pricing of the fighter jets “has been” examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

This had led to a storm, with the Opposition claiming that there was no CAG report yet on the deal and accusing the government of misleading the court by presenting wrong facts.

In its application, the government termed the controversial portion as an “error” and submitted that it 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”. Accepting this, the court modified Para 25.