Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday filed a counter-affidavit in a contempt case filed by BJP parliamentarian Meenakshi Lekhi for his remarks about the top court’s verdict in the Rafale deal case, the Hindustan Times reported.
In December, the Supreme Court had dismissed the need for an inquiry into the Rafale deal. On April 10, the court decided to hear review petitions against that verdict, dismissing the Centre’s objections to the files that formed the basis of the pleas. Lekhi then filed a contempt petition, claiming that while welcoming the order, Gandhi had attributed his remarks “chowkidar chor hai” to the top court. Gandhi and his party often use the slogan to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The court will consider Gandhi’s response along with the review petitions on Tuesday. The Centre, however, wants the hearing of the review petitions to be deferred as it needs more time to file its affidavit.
“It is further denied that trading of contentions with respect to the Rafale deal between political parties in any way lowers the authority and majesty of this honourable court,” Gandhi said in his affidavit, according to Bar and Bench.
The affidavit was filed after the top court issued a notice to the Congress president last week, when his lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi pointed that the judges had earlier only sought an explanation from him about his comments.
In his response to the Supreme Court on April 22, Gandhi had claimed that his political opponents had misused his remark and deliberately distorted the meaning, interpretation and implication of his comments for political purposes. He said these leaders had often falsely claimed that the Supreme Court had given a “clean chit” to the Rafale deal.
Gandhi had also said that he had made his remark in that context, “purely politically, to counter the aforesaid misinformation campaign being led by senior functionaries of the BJP as well as the government” about the court’s judgement in December.
The Congress president had expressed regret only for attributing the slogan to the top court but had stood by the slogan.