The chief justice’s comments on the Rafale review were delivered on an unrelated case.
Former ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan had moved the Supreme Court in January seeking a review of its judgment that upheld the government’s decision-making process in purchasing Rafale fighter aircraft.
The petition said the 14 December judgment relied on facts that were “patently false" and should, therefore, be recalled.
It also criticized the top court’s reliance on documents placed by the Centre in a sealed cover and a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the pricing issue in delivering its verdict, even though the audit is still to be completed.
Deeming it to be a substantial error on part of the court, the petition stated: “The government has blatantly misled the hon’ble court, which has grossly erred in placing reliance on false averments in the note not even supported by an affidavit. As the judgment is based on evidently false averments in the note not shared with the petitioners, on that ground alone the entire judgment ought to be not just reviewed but recalled."
The Centre’s submission had recorded that under paragraph 25 of the judgment, it had stated that pricing details were shared with the CAG and that the report was examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before Parliament, the judgment added.
This had come under question as there was no CAG report on it until then.
On 14 December, the Supreme Court said it found no evidence of wrongdoing in the government’s decision-making process, rejecting petitions for an investigation into the Rafale deal.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Gogoi had ruled: “In view of our findings on all the three aspects and having heard the matter in detail, we find no reason for any intervention by this court on the sensitive issue of purchase of 36 defence aircraft by the Indian government."
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