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Rafale deal case: Supreme Court assures petitioners it will hear their review pleas

A view of the Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi.

A view of the Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

The CJI recently made it clear that the delay in listing the case was not the court's doing but that of the lawyers concerned.

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday assured petitioners that the Supreme Court would hear their review pleas against the December 14 judgment in the Rafale deal case. He said that as of now the judges who should be on the Bench were sitting in a different combination.

"We will do something about it. We are sitting in a different combination [of judges]. It is difficult to change it," he told advocate Prashant Bhushan.

 

Mr. Bhushan had sought an urgent hearing of the review petitions and a petition seeking perjury proceedings against the government officials who had "misled" the court about facts in the 36 Rafale jets' deal through unsigned confidential notes.

Recently, the CJI revealed in the court that the Centre's application to modify the judgment and separate review pleas by petitioners to reconsider the verdict were lying dormant in the court registry, waiting for lawyers to correct defects in the documents filed.

The CJI made it clear that the delay in listing the case was not the court's doing but that of the lawyers concerned.

It has been over a month since the pleas were filed. There is no word about the government application filed on December 15, 2018 for a correction in the judgment.

The silence that shrouds the application belies the urgency with which the Centre returned to the court on December 15 — the very next day the verdict was pronounced.

The Centre has so far not made any oral mention before the court for an early hearing of its application.

“Erroneous” judgement

In the application, the government claimed the court judgment erred in English grammar to “misinterpret” information submitted to it in a sealed cover note about the pricing in the 36 Rafale jets’ deal.

The review petitions filed by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Prashant Bhushan and Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh also lies in wait in the court. These petitions alleged that the judgment was riddled with fault lines.

They wanted the court to reconsider its “erroneous” judgment, which relied on a “non-existent” CAG report to uphold the Rafale deal.

The petitioners contended that the judgement, based on a hypothetical CAG report, was not merely a “clerical or arithmetical slip” but a substantial error. They wanted a “recall” of the verdict. The petitioners said the CAG was an independent constitutional body accountable only to Parliament. The Centre’s claim that the CAG’s final report on Rafale would be in a redacted form was simply untrue. In fact, the government could ot dictate to the CAG what should or should not be redacted.

The petitioners also questioned the judgment’s dismissal of lack of sovereign guarantee from the French government’s side as a “minor deviation”.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 7:51:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rafale-deal-supreme-court-assures-it-will-hear-pending-review-pleas/article26328516.ece

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