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news details
Supreme Court set to take up Rafale review plea today
5/6/2019 12:06:03 PM
New Delhi , May 6

The Supreme Court (SC) is expected to take up the Rafale contempt case on Monday a week after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi offered to file a fresh affidavit for attributing his political slogan “Chowkidar chor hai” to the top court.

This would be Gandhi’s third affidavit in the contempt case Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi has filed against him for incorrectly attributing the slogan.

Lekhi had asked the court to initiate criminal contempt action against Gandhi for having twisted the top court’s April 10 judgment to claim that the court declared Prime Minister guilty of corrupt practices in purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft.

The SC had on April 10 dismissed objections over the admissibility of leaked documents petitioners had cited for seeking a review of its December judgement rejecting a plea for a courtmonitored probe into the purchase of the jets.

During the last hearing, the court was not convinced by Gandhi’s earlier affidavit. “You take 22 pages to express regret… but where is the complete regret,” Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi told Gandhi’s lawyer, Abhishek Singhvi, who attempted to convince the judges that his client had regretted the mistake.

In his similarly worded previous affidavits, Gandhi told the court his remarks were not meant to obstruct the administration of justice or scandalise the court in any manner. Gandhi also apologised for ascribing comments to the court, which he said, happened due to “juxtaposing” in a “rhetorical flourish in the heat of political campaigning”.

The SC will also take up review petitions of former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan in the Rafale case claiming the December 18 verdict in the case contained errors and relied on the government’s incorrect claims in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh and lawyer Vineet Dhanda, too, have filed two more review petitions. A Cji-led bench will take up the petitions as well.

On Saturday, the Centre filed an affidavit in the case saying any review in the case would tantamount to questioning the government’s sovereign decision-related to national security and defence.

The government has said the claims made in the review petitions are “scandalous, false, baseless and bereft of any particular material”. The affidavit said the ruling had no apparent “error warranting its review”. The affidavit said the Prime Minister’s Office monitoring the progress of the deal for 36 Rafale jets could not be “construed as interference or parallel negotiations”.

The court on Monday will also take up Congress lawmaker Sushmita Dev’s plea alleging that the Election Commission (EC) has not acted against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for violations of election Model Code of Conduct (MCC). It had last week asked the EC to decide by May 6 nine complaints the Congress has filed against Modi and Shah.

The poll watchdog has exonerated Modi from any violations related to his speeches in Latur and Wardha. In Latur, Modi last month urged first-time voters to dedicate their votes to the heroes of the air strike in Pakistan on February 26 and soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack.

Modi slammed Gandhi in his speech in Wardha on April 1 and said the second seat the Congress chief has chosen to contest in Kerala had more voters from the minority communities.
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