'Reports on Hollande's statement triggered PILs'

Notably, advocate M L Sharma who filed the PIL in his own name, made Prime Minister Narendra Modi as party respondent number one.

The Supreme Court on Friday pointed out that a batch of petitions questioning the Rafale deal was triggered almost two years after, on the basis of news reports on a statement by former president of France Francois Hollande regarding the choice of the Indian offset partner.

“We may note that the process was concluded for 36 Rafale fighter jet aircraft on September 23, 2016. Nothing was called into question, then. It is only taking advantage of the statement by the ex-president of France, Hollande that these set of petitions have been filed,” a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

Notably, advocate M L Sharma who filed the PIL in his own name, made Prime Minister Narendra Modi as party respondent number one.

Modi's critics and former ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan joined later.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh, besides advocate Vineet Dhanda, also filed their separate petitions.

Shourie also personally argued before the court.

“Things remained quiet until sometime in the month of September, 2018 when certain newspapers reported a statement claimed to have been made by Hollande, to the effect that the French government were left with no choice in the matter of selection of Indian offset partners and the Reliance Group was the name suggested by the government of India. This seems to have triggered the writ petitions under consideration,” the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph, said.

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'Reports on Hollande's statement triggered PILs'

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