The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the review petitions challenging its December 2018 verdict in the Rafale case. The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph observed that the petitions ‘lack merit’, and there was no need for registration of an FIR or an inquiry in connection with the Rafale deal.
Maintaining that the review petitions have sought registration of an FIR in connection with Rafale fighter jets jet deal, the bench said, “We do not consider it to be a fair submission”. The apex court rejected pleas that had sought re-examination of December 14 judgment seeking a court-monitored investigation into the India-France deal.
In the order, the SC had dismissed two petitions — one filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan, and the other by AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh — seeking a court-monitored investigation into the India-France deal for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft.
BJP claims vindication, attacks Rahul Gandhi
Launching an attack on Rahul Gandhi after the Supreme Court rejected dismissed two review petitions for probing the Rafale deal, the BJP Thursday claimed vindication and asked the Congress leader to tender an apology to the nation.
Calling it a befitting reply to “malicious and baseless campaigns”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the judgment reaffirms Modi government’s credentials as a “transparent and corruption-free government”. “Now, it has been proved that the disruption of Parliament over #Rafale was a sham. The time could have been better utilised for the welfare of people. After today’s rebuke from SC, Congress and its leader, for whom politics is above national interest must apologise to the nation,” he tweeted.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Opposition lost in the court as well as in polls. French President Emmanuel Macron also rejected the claims made by some of the Congress leaders. Rahul Gandhi has misled the country and should apologise.”
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also called out Rahul Gandhi for his “Chor” jibe directed at the PM, saying that he should apologise to the nation.
Congress retaliates, says SC verdict paves way for independent investigation
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s verdict, the Congress said the BJP should not celebrate as the top court’s verdict paved the way for an independent investigation into the matter. Addressing the media, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the top court has made it clear that its hands might be bound by constitutional boundaries, but not that of an independent investigation agency.
“In last 5 years, the BJP has developed a very bad habit of celebrating without analysing,” Surjewala said, adding, “The court has made it clear that its hands might be bound by constitutional boundaries, but not that of an independent investigation agency.”
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also said that the Supreme Court has opened a huge door into an investigation of the Rafale case and demanded the setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the case.
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.