Supreme Court Decision on Secret Rafale Documents at Best Procedural Jaitley

Apr 11 2019 10:55AM


New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the Supreme Court decision to allow leaked documents to be relied upon by petitioners in the Rafale case is "at best procedural".

In a series of tweets, Jaitley said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has already cleared the deal and a petition seeking review of the earlier judgement of the Supreme Court is pending. "All that the court has today said is that even a wrongly procured document can be considered for review. The issue which delights the beleaguered opposition is at best procedural," Jaitley said. The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed leaked documents to be relied upon by petitioners seeking review of its Rafale judgement and dismissed the government preliminary objections claiming "privilege" over them.

The Centre had submitted that privileged documents were procured by petitioners in an illegal way and used to support their review petitions against the December 14, 2018 judgement of the apex court dismissing all pleas challenging procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

Commenting on the Supreme Court order, Congress said the it has blown the lid off the "lies" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal, and termed it as the first step towards justice.

Earlier in December, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court had dismissed all Public Interest Litigations (PILs) against the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets, saying there was no occasion to "really doubt the decision making process" warranting setting aside of the contract.

The top court Wednesday said that review petitions against its December 14 verdict dismissing all petitions against procurement of Rafale jets will be decided on merit. The court said it will fix a date for hearing review petitions.

The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

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