New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to file its response to the petition seeking of Rafale verdict by Saturday. The court in its verdict in December had dismissed the plea challenging the Rafale deal.
Activists Prashant Bhushan, and two former union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie have filed a petition seeking review of the December 14, 2018 verdict of the apex court giving clean chit to the Rafale deal. Rajya Sabha MP and AAP leader Sanjay Singh has also filed a separate review petition in the case.
A three-member bench comprising of chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, refused to allow time to the Centre and directed the government to submit the response to the review petition latest by May 4. The court has fixed May 6 for the next hearing.
The Centre had sought four weeks time to file its response to the pleas.
The Supreme Court, in its December verdict, has said there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and dismissed all the petitions seeking an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Rs 58,000 crore deal. The apex court had said there was no substantial evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity.
The three petitioners, on January 2, had approached the court seeking review of the judgement, alleging that the court had relied upon “patently incorrect” claims made by the government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover in the court. The petitioners also submitted fresh documents to substantiate their stand.
The Centre had submitted that three privileged documents were unauthorisedly removed from the Defence Ministry and used by the petitioners to support their review petitions against the verdict which had dismissed all pleas challenging the procurement of the fighter jets.
The court, however, on April 10 allowed the pleas which relied on leaked documents for seeking review of its Rafale judgement and dismissed the government’s preliminary objections claiming “privilege” over them.