Rafale case: SC asks Centre to reply to review pleas 

The top court rejected the pleas challenging the deal, saying there was no occasion to "really doubt the decision making process" or any reason for intervention by the court on the "sensitive issue" of purchase of 36 jets. File photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Union government to file its response on a batch of petitions seeking reconsideration of December 14, 2018 judgement that dismissed a plea for probe into the 2016 Rafale fighter jets deal from France.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph issued a formal notice to the Centre on review petitions, including the one filed jointly by former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan.

As soon as the matter came up before the bench, Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted letters have been circulated on behalf of the government and time sought for reply.

"As no formal notice has been issued, we wanted four weeks time to file a response," he said.

"Since review is pending...you should have filed your response by now," the bench retorted.

On this, he said, "No, the judgement was passed on April 10 for admission to the documents only."

"Ok, if your grievance is that no formal notice, we will issue notice," the bench said and fixed the matter for consideration on Monday, May 6.

The court asked the Centre to file its response by Saturday, also on the application seeking perjury action.

Venugopal, however, said he would oppose the maintainability of this application.

On January 1, Sinha and Shourie and advocate Bhushan filed a review petition in the court against the December 14 judgement that had dismissed their plea for a probe.

Notably, the Union government has also filed an application for correction of the judgement. 

Besides review petition, advocate Bhushan also filed a plea seeking perjury action against the senior officers of the Union government for "misleading" the court on CAG report.

On April 10, the court had decided to examine leaked secret documents to reconsider its judgement. The court had then rejected the Union government's objections over the admissibility of the fresh materials, by saying those were already in public domain.

The government had maintained the documents were illegally obtained in violations of the Official Secrets Act, the Right to Information Act and the Indian Evidence Act.

The Narendra Modi government has all along declined to reveal the price of the deal related to 36 Rafale jets. It faced charges of irregularities in the decision-making process and favouritism in selecting Anil Ambani's company as an offset partner.

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