Supreme Court dismisses PIL seeking inquiry into Rafale deal

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat dismissed the petition, saying that no case for interference by the Supreme Court has been made out by the petitioner

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, August 29, 2022, 12:23 PM IST
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An Indian Air Force Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter jet | Twitter/@IAF_MCC

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a PIL seeking an inquiry into the Rafale deal on Monday, which was filed after news reports in French media alleged the payment of a bribe by Dassault Aviation, the Rafale's manufacturer, to an Indian middleman.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat dismissed the petition, saying that no case for interference by the Supreme Court has been made out by the petitioner, at which point the petitioner, Advocate ML Sharma, made a further request seeking permission to withdraw the petition, to which the court agreed.

In its December 14, 2018, verdict, a three-judge Bench led by then-CJI Ranjan Gogoi had dismissed a petition seeking probe into the India-France deal for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets, holding there was no commercial favouritism and occasion to “really doubt the decision-making process” warranting setting aside of the contract.

On November 14, 2019, it had dismissed petitions seeking review of its verdict, saying they were without any merit.

Alleging irregularities in the deal, petitioners Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha, Prashant Bhushan and others had demanded registration of an FIR and a court-monitored probe into it.

However, the Bench—which also included Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph—gave a clean chit to the deal on all three contentious issues—the decision-making process, comparative pricing and choice of Indian offset partners (IOP), saying “We find no reason for any intervention by this court on the sensitive issue of purchase of 36 defence aircraft by the Indian Government.”

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