The Centre on Monday asked the Supreme Court to defer the hearing of the review petitions in the Rafale case listed for Tuesday. The Centre said it needed more time to file a fresh affidavit, the Hindustan Times reported.
The Supreme Court did not pass an order on the Centre’s request to adjourn the hearing, Bar and Bench reported. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, allowed the Centre’s counsel to circulate a letter for adjournment in Tuesday’s hearing among all the parties in the case, including the petitioners who filed the review pleas, PTI reported.
On April 10, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the Centre’s objections to the review petitions seeking an inquiry into the Rafale fighter jet deal. In March, the government had asked for the review pleas to be dismissed, claiming they were based on “secret files” accessed from the Defence Ministry.
In December, the top court had rejected the need for an inquiry into the Rafale deal, but the petitioners then sought a review. Last month, the court said it will deal with the Centre’s objections before proceeding with the review pleas. The bench had reserved its verdict on the matter on March 14.
Review petitions had been filed by Prashant Bhushan, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie against the court’s judgement given in December.
The review petitions had cited ministry documents revealed by media reports – mainly those published in The Hindu – in February. During the hearings, the government claimed that these were privileged and secret official files, and publishing them is illegal and a threat to security. The government said the disclosure of such details is exempted even by the Right to Information Act and breaches the Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act.
The Congress and other Opposition parties have consistently alleged corruption in the Rafale deal signed by Narendra Modi’s government. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has brought up the matter multiple times, including in recent rallies ahead of the upcoming elections. He has called the deal a “blatant case of corruption”.