The Supreme Court on Monday said it would hear the review petitions seeking an inquiry into the Rafale deal along with the contempt petition against Congress President Rahul Gandhi on May 10, PTI reported. According to Bar and Bench, only the review pleas were listed for hearing on Monday.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph expressed surprise and asked why the review petitions and the contempt plea against Gandhi had been listed on different dates despite a court order that the two cases would be heard together.
“We are little perplexed that the two cases are listed on two different dates when the order was that these matters will be heard together,” the judges said. The court listed the matter for hearing at 2 pm on May 10, the last day before the court closes for summer break, Live Law reported.
The contempt petition against Gandhi, which has been filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Meenakshi Lekhi, alleges that the Congress president attributed his party’s slogan “chowkidar chor hai” to the Supreme Court at an election rally. The slogan is used by the Opposition to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleged improprieties in the defence deal.
Meanwhile, advocate Prashant Bhushan submitted that a new petition for producing additional documents has been filed. He urged the court should allow his co-petitioner and former Union minister Arun Shourie to argue a separate application seeking perjury action against unknown government officials for allegedly misleading the court during hearings in the Rafale case last year.
The Centre had told the Supreme Court on Saturday that the decision of the Prime Minister’s Office to monitor the Rafale jet deal cannot be construed as interference. The government made this contention in its affidavits arguing against a need for review of the top court’s decision to reject requests an inquiry into the defence agreement. Prashant Bhushan, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie were among those who filed the review petitions.
On April 10, a three-judge bench of the court had unanimously dismissed the Centre’s objections to the review petitions. In March, the government had asked for the pleas to be dismissed, claiming they were based on “secret files” accessed from the Defence Ministry.