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‘Perplexed’ Supreme Court Postpones Rafale Review Hearing After Rahul Gandhi Case Gets Delinked

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the Supreme Court would endeavour to complete hearing the review petitions on May 10.


Updated:May 6, 2019, 2:46 PM IST
‘Perplexed’ Supreme Court Postpones Rafale Review Hearing After Rahul Gandhi Case Gets Delinked
A file photo of the Supreme Court. (PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing in the Rafale review petition to May 10 after learning that the hearing in the contempt case against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had been segregated and posted for that date.

"We are a little perplexed that the two cases (Rahul's contempt and Rafale) have been segregated," Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi remarked and said the court would endeavour to complete hearing the review petitions on May 10.

As the proceedings began, the CJI asked the Supreme Court Bar Association chief Vikas Singh if the contempt petition against Rahul Gandhi was also listed for Monday, to which he replied that the contempt petition will come up on May 10.

Clearly unhappy with the answer, Justice Gogoi said, “How is it that this review has come today and the other matter on 10th, when there is an order saying that both the matters are to be heard together. It had to come up today".

The contempt case against Rahul Gandhi had been initiated for attributing the "chowkidar chor hain" remarks to the preliminary verdict of SC in Rafale case. Gandhi had apologised for misquoting the apex court at the previous hearing, but the court had asked him to furnish a written apology.

The three-judge bench, also comprising Justice KM Joseph and SK Kaul, insisted that the hearing of both cases will be held together and adjourned the matter. May 10 is the last day before the Supreme Court breaks for summer recess.

The petitions in the Rafale case have been filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist-advocate Prashant Bhushan. They are seeking a review of the December 14 verdict by which their plea seeking probe into alleged irregularities in the multi-crore Rafale fighter jet deal was dismissed.

The Centre has opposed the pleas vehemently, stating in an affidavit filed Saturday that the "categorical and emphatic" findings recorded by the top court in its December 14 last year verdict in the Rafale deal case has no apparent error warranting its review.

It said the petitioners, in the garb of seeking review of the verdict and placing reliance on some press reports and some incomplete internal file notings procured unauthorisedly and illegally, cannot seek to re-open the whole matter since the scope of review petition is "extremely limited".

The Centre said media reports cannot form the basis for seeking review of the judgement since it is well settled law that courts do not take decision on the basis of media reports.

Referring to the April 10 order of the apex court, by which the Centre's preliminary objection to placing reliance on leaked documents was rejected by the top court, the Centre's reply said the order "would imply that any document marked secret obtained by whatever means and placed in public domain can be used without attracting any penal action".

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