Supreme Court to hear review petitions on Rafale verdict today
BusinessToday.In March 14, 2019
The Centre has filed an affidavit in the top court saying widely-circulated review petition against its Rafale verdict is sensitive to the national security as it includes leaked defence ministry papers. The Supreme Court will today resume the hearing on review petitions on the Rafale verdict in December, which had said there was no basis to doubt the purchase process of the Rafale fighter jets. Dismissing the petitions, the SC had set aside the allegations that the government had gone for a high-priced deal to help Reliance Group enter into an offset contract with French defence major Dassault.
Today's hearing comes days after Attorney General KK Venugopal told the top court the petitioners had used stolen documents in their review petitions and "should not be relied on". The petition filed by activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, former union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh and advocates ML Sharma and Vineet Dhanda challenged the Rs 59,000-crore deal with France for the procurement of 36 Rafale jets.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has denied the allegations saying there has been no flouting of due process in closing the deal. The defence ministry on Wednesday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying the widely-circulated review petition against its Rafale verdict was sensitive to the national security as it included leaked defence ministry documents and should be dismissed.
In the last hearing of the top court on March 6, Venugopal said the petitioner's case rested on stolen papers acquired from "present or former employees" of the defence ministry. However, he later claimed the Rafale documents were not stolen and what he meant in his submission before the Supreme Court was that petitioners in the application used "photocopies of the original papers", which were regarded secret by the government.
(Edited by: Nehal Solanki)