The Supreme Court of India today passed an order to the government to furnish the details of its decision-making process of the Rafale deal and also denied the centre’s plea to junk PILs aside straight away.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi made it clear that the central government will not be required to answer issues relating to pricing of the jets and suitability of the aircraft in question.
The bench asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to furnish by October 29 the details of the decision-making process after which the court will examine the manner in which the agreement was entered into with France and the involvement of the Indian firm as offset partner.
The court has also recorded in its order that there was no formal notice being issued in this case and that the allegations levelled in the PILs against the Rafale deal have not been relied upon in seeking details.
During the hearing, the A-G had sought dismissal of the petitions calling them “politically motivated” and involving “national security”.
When bench sought to know from the law officer if he was agreeable to adduce details only for the court, Venugopal answered in negative. “There are issues of national security in defence procurements. I don’t think they would want to give such details even to me,” replied the A-G.
The court, however, still went ahead to issue a directive for laying out of details before it for its own satisfaction.
The two PILs have been field by Supreme Court lawyers Vineet Dhanda and ML Sharma. They have sought investigation into Rafale deal, besides quashing the agreement in case it is found to be corrupt.