SC to hear Rafale petitions on October 10

A fresh plea referred to the recent controversy over the deal between India and Dassault Aviation, a French company, for purchasing 36 combat jets and sought judicial intervention to put an end to the raging debate.

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a fresh PIL seeking a direction to the Centre to file in “sealed cover” the details of the agreement that India has entered into with France for buying 36 Rafale fighter jets.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph said the present petition filed by advocate Vineet Dhanda would be taken up on October 10, the date earlier fixed to consider another PIL by advocate M L Sharma, which sought a stay on the high-profile defence deal with the French government. 

The fresh plea referred to the recent “controversy” over the deal between India and Dassault Aviation, a French company, for purchasing 36 combat jets and sought judicial intervention to put an end to the raging debate.

“Issue an appropriate writ for directing the respondents (the Centre and the Ministry of Defence) to file details of the agreement between India and France with regard to the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets in a sealed envelope,” said the plea, filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda.

The plea said the criticism had reached the “proverbial nadir” and Opposition parties have adopted a very “ignominious and profligate way even to criticise the prime minister”.

The plea said, “In order to put a full stop to the denigrating statements, the agreement entered into between the Government of India and the Dassault Aviation is required to be known at least by this court.”

It said the apex court may peruse the details of the defence deal which can be supplied in a sealed cover and “such information may not be made public due to defence reasons”.

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh also moved the court seeking direction to set up a Special Investigation Team er the supervision of the apex court to probe the Rafale deal. The plea has sought that the SIT should probe the reasons for cancellation of the earlier deal entered into by the UPA government for the purchase of 126 fighter jets.

It also questioned the alleged escalation of price of each jet from Rs 526 crore to more than Rs 1,500 crore. It also sought to probe how a novice company, viz. Reliance Defence, came into the picture in the deal and the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was removed.

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SC to hear Rafale petitions on October 10

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