SC to hear petitions seeking review of Rafale judgement on Mar 6

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on March 6 hear review petitions over its earlier verdict on the Rafale deal.

The court, in its verdict, had refused to order a probe into the deal on the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph will hear the review petitions.

On February 26, in an unusual course of action, the apex court decided to hear the review pleas in open court. According to the normal course of the court, the review petitions are usually heard in chambers.

In its December 14 order, the Supreme Court had dismissed petitions seeking a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the Rafale deal signed two years back, alleging irregularities and corruption in the pact.

The court had said that it does not find any substantial material on record to show that this is a case of commercial favouritism to any party by the Government of India. The deal was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in April 2015 and the deal was concluded in 2016.

On January 2, petitioners in Rafale fighter jet deal case — Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, both former Union Ministers, and Prashant Bhushan, a noted lawyer — had moved the apex court for review of its Rafale judgment of December 14.

They had asked for recalling of the judgement and had also sought an oral hearing in the open court for their review plea.

Their petition states that the December 14 verdict contained several errors and also it relied upon patently incorrect claims made by the Government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover to the court, which is a violation of the principle of natural justice.

They also alleged that Prime Minister Modi had signed an agreement for 36 Rafale jets on April 10, 2015, without any such requirement of 36 jets being given by the Air Force Headquarters and without the approval of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which are the mandated first steps for any defence procurement.