NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to grant a central government request to adjourn Tuesday’s hearing of a petition seeking a review of its previous order on the Rafale fighter aircraft acquisition.
Senior advocate R. Balasubramanian, representing the central government, had sought more time to file a reply on merits of the review petitions.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna, however, allowed the central government to circulate the letter seeking adjournment among parties including petitioners who have filed review pleas. The bench, however, did not say anything on the issue of adjournment of scheduled hearing on Tuesday.
“Don’t play hide and seek. Come straight to the point with names," Chief Justice Gogoi remarked while observing how senior advocates R. Balasubramaniam and Abhishek Manu Singhvi hesitated in naming Rafale and other politically sensitive cases.
Just before the Rafale plea was mentioned in the court, the case related to alleged violation of poll code against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah was also mentioned before the bench, where too Singhvi was hesitant to mention names.
On 10 April, the apex court announced its decision to allow “leaked" Rafale documents to be taken up as evidence in the case. These documents will now be judged on merit as part of the review of the December apex court verdict which ruled out a court-monitored probe into the allegations of procedural violations and favouritism in a deal to procure 36 Rafale jets, effectively giving the government a clean chit.
Within hours of the orders passed on 10 April, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had told the reporters that ‘Supreme Court ne kaha hai ki, Chowkidar hi chor hai". BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi then filed a contempt petition against Gandhi for incorrectly misquoting the judgement of the court to the media. The contempt petition has been tagged with the Rafale case and is listed for 30 April.