SC seeks details of Rafale deal making
10 October 2018
The Supreme Court today asked the centre to provide details of the decision-making process in the Rafale fighter jet deal and made it clear that does not want information on pricing and other technical details of the deal.
The SC bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph made it clear that it was not taking into account the allegations on corruption in the deal made in the petitions filed by two lawyers.
The centre, on the other hand, sought dismissal of the PILs filed in the case and argued that the petitions have been filed to gain political mileage.
While disposing of the case, the apex court asked the government to provide details of the decision-making process in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France in a sealed cover, but made it clear that it was not taking into account the allegations on corruption in the deal made in the petitions.
Attorney General KK Venugopal told the apex court that the issue in question pertains to national security and such issues cannot be reviewed judicially.
The apex court also did not issue notices to the centre on the two PILs filed by two separate lawyers seeking a court monitored probe into the deal.
The court asked the centre to provide details of the decision making process in the deal in a sealed cover by 29 October and posted the next hearing on the PILs to 31 October.
The PILs wanted the court to seek details, including the comparative prices during the UPA and NDA rule.
Congress leader and RTI activist Tehseen Poonawala, however, withdrew his PIL seeking a direction against the centre on why the union cabinet’s approval was not sought as part of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) before signing the procurement deal with France on 23 September 2016.
The Rafale deal is a defence agreement between the governments of India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in a fly-away condition as a part of the equipment upgradation process of Indian Air Force.
The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.
Indian Air Force had in August 2007 floated a tender for purchase of 126 fighter aircraft and had since invited a few aviation companies to participate in the bidding process.