(Photo: AFP)
(Photo: AFP)

Rafale case: Perjury plea by petitioners 'completely misconceived', Centre tells SC

  • Centre said that media reports cannot form the basis for seeking initiation of perjury proceedings
  • Govt also reiterated that it was not supposed to share the notes on pricing of the Rafale jets as it was classified information

NEW DELHI : The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the review petition seeking action against government officials for allegedly misleading the court during the hearing of Rafale case was ill conceived, given that incomplete internal file notings and media reports cannot be the basis of perjury proceedings.

The government denied all the allegations and requested the court to dismiss the perjury petition. It also reiterated that it was not supposed to share the notes on pricing of the Rafale jets as it was classified information.

“Media reports cannot form the basis for seeking initiation of ‘perjury proceedings’ as it is well settled that courts do not take decisions on the basis of media reports," the centre told the apex court.

The affidavit, filed by Apurva Chandra, director general of acquisition, ministry of defence, further argued that the review petitioners had ignored the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), while making the allegations in the perjury petition.

The review petition was filed against the Supreme Court’s 14 December order, which gave a clean chit to the National Democratic Alliance government in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault Aviation. The plea was filed by former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

On 10 April, the Supreme Court had rejected the Centre’s preliminary objections to the review petition and had allowed the reopening of the case for further arguments, besides examining the ‘leaked’ documents.

The petitioners had alleged that the government has misled the apex court with respect to the notes submitted in the sealed cover. They also alleged that the government has “suppressed material and relevant information" and had obtained the 14 December judgment on the basis of “fraud played" upon the top court. They also sought the production of relevant documents.

The petitioners also highlighted seven discrepancies in the CAG report and alleged that the government auditor was silent on several crucial aspects of the deal, including the issue of offsets and on parallel negotiations.

The petition told the court that once the commission of a cognizable offence is prima facie made out, an FIR has to be registered.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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