The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale jets, saying there was no occasion to "really doubt the decision making process" warranting setting aside of the contract.
In its judgment, the court made a reference to a CAG report on the aircraft deal. It said the CAG report was examined by the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.
However, on Saturday, the centre moved the top court seeking correction in the judgment, saying "misinterpretation" of its note "resulted in a controversy in the public domain".
The centre made it clear that it did not say the CAG report was examined by the PAC or a redacted portion was placed before Parliament. It clarified that the note had said the government "has already shared" the price details with CAG, written in past tense and "is factually correct".
AK Ganguly, former Supreme Court Judge; Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney General and Prashant Bhushan, senior lawyer and petitioner in Rafale case, discuss the impact of the verdict and the government's move.
On inaccuracies in the judgement, AK Ganguly said, “I have seen it. The judgement makes a very interesting read, initially, the judges thought that they shouldn’t invite a very limited review. But limited review doesn’t mean no review. In fact, they have said in that judgment that they are not reviewing the question of pricing but ultimately they have said in paragraph 24 that they will look into the pricing to satisfy their conscience."
Once the judge invoked the conscience theory then there are many wide questions that are opened, Ganguly said, adding that now while satisfying their conscience about the pricing the relied on unfortunately certain facts which are contrary to records such as comptroller and auditor general (CAG) report and that it is not yet come.
"The CAG report has not yet come but the judgment relies on it and that it has been submitted to PAC. These things have not yet served. So, the CAG report judgment is based on facts which do not exist,” he said.
Prashant Bhushan said, “We had raised several questions and we were only seeking a criminal investigation to our allegations of corruption under the prevention of corruption Act."
We had pointed out several facts and circumstances which showed that in this particular case Prime Minister has changed a deal in violation of all laid done procedure from the 126 aircraft deal to 36 aircraft deal, Bhushan said.