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Rafale case: Supreme Court grants govt time to file reply

  • The AG Venugopal submitted that in lieu of the three new documents, which the court has accepted to be examined as evidence, the govt needs to file a fresh affidavit
  • The court asked the parties to file affidavit and counter-affidavit by Saturday for the case to be heard on 6 May

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing over the Rafale review petitions after the Central Government sought time to file its affidavit on the merits of the petitions.

The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justice S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph denied the request made by Attorney General K.K Venugopal for four weeks time to file a reply. The AG submitted that in lieu of the three new documents, which the court has accepted to be examined as evidence, the Centre needs to file a fresh affidavit with respect to the documents taken on record. On being asked for the reason for the delay in filing the petition, the AG submitted that no formal notice was given to the Centre to that effect. The CJI observed that a formal notice needs to be issued.

The bench has asked the parties to file affidavit and counter-affidavit by Saturday for the case to be heard on 6 May.

The review petition has been filed against the Supreme Court’s order on 14 December which had given a clean chit to the NDA government in the case related to Rafale jets being bought from Daussault Aviation. The plea was filed by Former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan. Besides the trio, AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh have also filed a separate review petition in the case.

The Centre had in its preliminary objection against the review petitions raised the arguments that the documents filed are photocopies of defence files that had been made illegally and hence should not be admissible in court. The court in its judgment delivered on 10 April stated that the three documents were already published and hence in the public domain.

The SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gogoi had yesterday refused the deferment plea of the Government but allowed the Centre to circulate the letter seeking adjournment among parties, which included the petitioners who have filed review pleas.

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