The Supreme Court on October 8, 2018, has decided to hear a fresh Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the Rafale deal between India and France on Wednesday i.e. October 10, 2018.
A Bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi
and Justices S K Kaul
and K M Joseph
said that it will hear the PIL filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda, who is seeking a direction to the Centre to reveal details of the deal and the comparative prices during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule in a sealed cover to the apex court. Further, the petition also sought information about the contract given to Reliance by Dassault.
Moreover, Advocate M L Sharma's plea, filed earlier, alleging discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and seeking a stay on it will also come up for hearing on October 10, 2018. Advocate Sharma claimed in his plea that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an "outcome of corruption" and not ratified by Parliament under Article 253
(Parliament has power to make any law for implementing any inter-government agreement) of the Constitution of India
. A similar plea was filed in the apex court in March this year by Congress leader Tehseen S Poonawalla seeking an independent probe into the Rafale deal and disclosure of the cost involved in the deal before Parliament. The Congress leader had sought a direction against the Centre on why the Union Cabinet's approval was not sought as part of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) before signing the procurement deal with France on September 23, 2016. Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between the governments of India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in a fly-away condition as a part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment. Indian Air Force had advanced a proposal to buy 126 fighter aircraft in August 2007 and floated a tender. Following this, an invitation was sent to various aviation companies to participate in the bidding process.