A crucial hearing on the Rafale deal row began in the Supreme Court on Thursday morning. It is to be noted that the Supreme Court is examining the pricing details of the 36 Rafale fighter jets, submitted by the Centre in a sealed cover.
The verdict is being pronounced by a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
Hearing in Supreme Court over Rafale fighter jets deal – LIVE UPDATES
11:20 AM: “The Supreme Court has said that the information they have at the moment, based on that, there is no requirement for an investigation. On pricing too, the Supreme Court said, that the price was decided by Dassault Aviation – a private company, not the government; Hence there is no need for getting into that,” he said. He went on to say that he still believes his demand for an investigation is justified.
11:18 AM: Prashant Bhushan, who is one of the petitioners in the case, said that he disagrees with the court decision.
11:00 AM: Supreme Court on offset partner, “It is upto the vendor and not Central government to decide”.
10:59 AM: It is not for the Court to step into what is appropriate.
10:58 AM: Mere press interviews can’t be basis.
10:57 AM: There is no commercial favouritism.
10:56 AM: There is no reason to intervene.
10:55 AM: CJI said, “It is not the job of court to compare the price”.
10:54 AM: Our country can’t be allowed to be underprepared.
10:53 AM: It will not be correct for the court to sit on the correctness.
10:52 AM: The petitions were filed only after the statement made by former President Of France.
10:50 AM: Supreme Court dismisses petition says no probe into Rafale deal. CJI said no reason to intervene.
10:47 AM: Supreme Court Chief Justice said, “Not the job of this court to go into issues of pricing”.
10:45 AM: It is our considered view in matters of contract and there can’t any uniform view of judicial review.
10:43 AM: Scrutiny will have to be made keeping in mind national security.
10:42 AM: We proceed to scrutinise the decision, pricing and choice.
10:40 AM: Chief Justice Mishra now reading out the verdict.
10:35 AM: Chief Justice Of India and two other Judges – Justices SK Kaul and KM Joesph – arrive in court room.
Petitions demanding a court-monitored investigation into the deal were filed after the Congress took up the issue on a war footing, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government of corruption and crony capitalism. The Congress has demanded that the pricing details of the planes be made public – a demand the government has rejected citing a secrecy clause in the deal.
However, the Centre has questioned the court’s expertise to review the Rs 59,000-crore deal for 36 planes with French firm Dassault. “The pricing details – one of the most controversial aspects of the deal – would not be debated unless the judges think it should be in public domain,” the court had said. In its last hearing, the court had reserved the verdict.
The government had earlier said that the deal inked by it was on ‘better terms’ than the one negotiated by the erstwhile UPA government. “Further, the Defence Procurement Procedure set up in 2013 was completely followed”, the government noted. The Centre also told the court that it went ahead with the inter-governmental deal only after getting approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
India had inked a deal with France to procure 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition in a bid to provide much-needed air power to the Indian Air Force equipment. The deal was estimated at Rs 58,000 crore. The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.