The Supreme Court on Monday deferred the hearing on petitions seeking review of its December 14, 2018 judgment upholding the Rafale jet deal with France until May 10, when it will hear the case together with the contempt plea against Congress president Rahul Gandhi for allegedly attributing to the top court his “chowkidar chor hai” dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, which took up the petitions on Monday, noted to its dismay that although the court had ordered them to be listed with the contempt matter, the latter had been listed for a different day: May 10.
The bench said it had specifically directed that the two matters should be listed together and wondered why they were not.
“We are a little perplexed that the two cases are listed on two different dates when the order was that these matters will be heard together,” the bench said.
It then directed, “The present matters and contempt petition (criminal)…(should) be listed together on 10.5.2019 at 2 pm. We make it clear that the hearing scheduled for 10.5.2019 would be taken up and parties shall make an endeavour to complete the same on the said date.”
The bench also allowed advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for himself and his co-petitioners — former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie — to file a rejoinder to an affidavit already filed by the Centre in the matter.
The Centre has in its affidavit stated that the Prime Minister’s Office had been “monitoring the progress” of the “government to government” deal for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets, and the same “cannot be construed as interference or parallel negotiations”.