Despite Attorney General K K Venugopal’s strong objections to the Public Interest Litigations filed on Rafale deal arguing that it is beyond the purview of judicial scrutiny, the Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi brushed aside the objections raised on behalf of the government and directed him to lay out before the court the steps in decision making for the acquisition of Rafale jet from France. The bench made it clear that the government will not be required to answer issues relating to pricing and suitability of the aircrafts on the battle field. The government should furnish the details by October 29 after which the court will examine the manner in which the agreement was entered into with France and the involvement of an Indian firm as offset partner. The court has also recorded in its order that there was no formal notice being issued in the case and that the allegations levelled in the PILs against the deal have not been relied upon in seeking the details. The bench with other two judges Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K M Joseph said the purpose behind the order was to satisfy the court about the decision making process.
Attorney General argued that the pleas were politically motivated in the light of the fight between the opposition and the ruling party. He also said that international treaties were not supposed to be reviewed by the court. He stressed that it was the matter of national security. In the further hearing on October 31, the court will see whether the procedure laid down for such deals was adopted by the government or not. Once the case has been admitted, the government is vulnerable to the judicial review. If the matter was handed over to the Joint Parliamentary Committee, the court would not have admitted the case. Here the verdict of the court will be more valuable than the opinion given by the JPC.
Meanwhile the Congress alleged that there were many procedural flaws in awarding the deal to the French company.