Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Supreme Court to deliver Rafale case judgement on Friday

Supreme Court to deliver Rafale case judgement on Friday

Multiple pleas seeking court-monitored probe into the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal with France were filed in the Supreme Court. In an affidavit submitted to the apex court on Saturday morning, it said there was a grammatical typographical error in the verdict and asked for a necessary correction.

Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph were the other members of the three-judge bench that was hearing the four petitions seeking a stay on the RS 59,000-crore Rafale deal, signed between India and France in 2016.

Supreme Court Rafale deal judgment may shape future cases on issues involving defence procurement.

Under India's military procurement rules, foreign companies must "offset" or reinvest up to half the total value of a deal with Indian firms, in an effort to build the country's manufacturing base.

Reacting to the Supreme Court verdict rejecting the demand for a probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale jets, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said, "I think Supreme Court is supreme".

The opposition claimed that the deal has cost India thrice the amount it was supposed to, and that an Indian partner favoured by the government was unfairly chosen as a partner in the deal.

"We can not sit on judgement of the govt of purchasing the number of aircraft; detailed scrutiny of Rafale Deal is not required", the court added.

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However, the court headed by Indian Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the petitions calling for the establishment of a special investigation team to probe the deal.

In fact, sources in the CAG have told ThePrint that the report has "still not been finalised" and may be sent to Parliament before the Budget Session next year if it is finalised by then.

The bench reiterated that various judicial pronouncements of the Supreme Court emphasise that scrutiny should be limited to the "Wednesbury Principle of Reasonableness and absence of mala fides or favouritism" - a reasoning or decision is Wednesbury unreasonable if it is so unreasonable that no sensible person could have taken such a decision.

"It can not be lost sight of that these are contracts of defence procurement which should be subject to a different degree and depth of judicial review".

The first Rafale jet will be delivered in 2019 and the 36 jets will form two new squadrons of the Indian Air Force. The SC can't compel the government to purchase 126 aircraft and its not proper for the court to examine each aspect of this case.

The apex court has examined the decision-making process and the induction of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence as the offset partner of French company Dassault Aviation.

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