India

Rafale verdict: No grounds to order inquiry, says SC, dismisses review petitions

Rafale verdict: No grounds to order inquiry, says SC, dismisses review petitions

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a batch of review petitions challenging its December 2018 verdict in the Rafale case, saying that they ‘lack merit’. The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph observed that there was no need for registration of an FIR or an inquiry in connection with the Rafale deal.

The apex court rejected pleas which had sought re-examination of December 14 judgment seeking a court-monitored investigation into the India-France deal for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft.

The review pleas were filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, advocate Prashant Bhushan and Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh.

In their review petition, Sinha, Shourie, and Bhushan had said the court had relied on “patently incorrect” claims made by the government in its note submitted in a sealed cover to the Bench that had heard the original petition. They also said that additional information had emerged subsequently, and not considering it would result in a grave miscarriage of justice. The petition relied on certain documents related to the deal which were published by The Hindu newspaper and later by the news agency ANI.

In its April 10, 2019 order, the court had rejected the government’s objections to the admissibility of the documents sought to be relied on by the review petitioners. The government had taken the stand that these documents were unauthorisedly photocopied and leaked and that they enjoyed protection under The Official Secrets Act, 1923.

The Congress-led opposition had alleged that the aircraft, built by Dassault Aviation of France, was purchased under a direct government-to-government agreement at a much higher price than the one negotiated for 126 aircraft by the UPA government under an open tender.