The Supreme Court today (November 14, 2019) dismissed the review petitions filed against its judgment which gave a clean chit to the Modi government in the Rafale fighter jet deal with French company Dassault Aviation.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph observed that the review petitions filed by Advocate Prashant Bhushan, former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie lacked merits.
Dismissing the review petitions, the court observed that ordinarily FIR should have been registered on the complaint as per the dictum of SC in Lalitha Kumari case. But since the Court has elaborately discussed all the issues, there is no need to register FIR.
On May 10, 2019, the top court reserved its verdict on pleas seeking review of its December 14, 2018, judgment wherein the court declined to order probe into the corruption allegations regarding the deal to procure 36 Rafale jets by Indian Government from French company Dassault Aviation.
In the review plea, the petitioners had alleged that the judgment was based on “errors apparent on the face of the record” and ought to be recalled. The petitioners had relied on the reports published by ‘The Hindu’ to argue that the Government had suppressed material information from the Court regarding the deal.
The Attorney General for India K.K. Venugopal objected to reliance of these documents by saying that they were 'stolen' from the Ministry of Defence, and said that they were protected by 'privilege' under Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act.
The apex court, however, on April 10, 2019,rejected Centre's preliminary objections on the reasoning that illegality in obtaining evidence did not affect its admissibility in court proceedings, if they are otherwise relevant.