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The Supreme Court today dismissed the review petitions challenging its verdict in the Rafale case passed last year.
The judgment was rendered by a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph after it was reserved in May this year.
Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Kaul said today,
“We do not consider the submissions for the registration of FIR to be fair…
…We are, thus, of the view that the review petitions are without any merit and are accordingly dismissed, once again, re-emphasising that our original decision was based within the contours of Article 32 of the Constitution of India.”
The petitioners – including former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha and renowned writer and economist Arun Shourie – had filed a review against the decision of the Court, which held that no Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry was required to probe the inter-governmental deal for the procurement of Rafale jets.
Rafale before Supreme Court
December 15, 2018 – Rafale: SC misinterpreted present for past tense, Centre seeks correction in Para 25 [Read Application]
April 10, 2019 – Rafale Review Petitions will be heard on merits, Centre’s objections on admissibility of documents dismissed by SC
May 9, 2019 – Judgment obtained through multiple falsehoods and suppression, petitioners in rejoinder
The judgment had placed reliance on a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which was supposed to be placed before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Parliament. Based on the submissions made by the Centre in a sealed cover, the Court proceeded on the premise that the exercise had been undertaken.
The Centre, however, filed an application for correction in the judgment and submitted that the CAG report had not, in fact, been placed before the PAC or Parliament. The submission in the sealed cover presented to the Court only outlined the procedure that would be undertaken.
Subsequently, additional documents accessed by sections of the media surfaced. The review petition filed by Sinha, Shourie and others sought for those documents to be taken on record.
The Supreme Court allowed for the hearing of the review petitions to be conducted in open Court and also heard the Centre at length on its preliminary objection against taking the documents in question on record. The Centre claimed privilege on those documents and argued that the same fell within the ambit of official secrets. The Court dismissed the preliminary objection and went on to hear arguments on merits before reserving its judgment in May this year.
[Read the Judgment]