The Supreme Court Monday sought Rahul Gandhi’s response for “incorrectly attributing” a remark to the court at an election rally. The apex court said it will consider the petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi seeking contempt action against the Congress president for claiming that the top court used the term — ‘chowkidar chor hai’ — while passing a verdict on the Rafale deal.
“We make it clear views attributed to this court by Rahul Gandhi in media or public on Rafale verdict have been incorrectly attributed,” the bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said today. The bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said, “Having clarified the matter we deem it appropriate to seek an explanation of Gandhi.” The Congress chief has been asked to explain his comments before the next hearing on April 23.
The court also said it “had no occasion to record any such views or make observations in as much as what was decided by this court was the legal admissibility of certain documents to which objections were raised” by the Attorney General
Appearing for the BJP leader, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said Gandhi had made a remark that the “Supreme Court has said, chowkidaar chor hai” in the verdict. Lekhi, In her plea, said Gandhi had attributed his personal remarks to the top court and tried to create prejudice.
The Supreme Court last week dismissed the government’s objections to the admissibility of certain documents that were relied on by the review petitioners and said it would examine the “secret, leaked” documents while reviewing its Rafale judgment. The documents at the centre of the row had been published by The Hindu newspaper in February, and one of these had also been released by the ANI news agency. The court will now hear arguments on whether these documents raise any doubts about the deal for purchase of the 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
Welcoming this move, Gandhi had said, “Bahut khushi ho rahi hai ki jo main mahino se keh raha hun ki Hindustan ke Pradhan Mantri ne Air Force ka paisa chori karke Anil Ambani ji ko diya hai, us baat ko aj SC ne maan liya hai, (I am happy that what I have been saying for months that India’s Prime Minister stole money from the Air Force and gave it to Anil Ambani, Supreme Court has validated that point today).” He also dared the prime minister for an open debate. Soon after, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused Gandhi of making comments that verge on contempt of court’s order.