February 16, 2019:
On Friday, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi reveals that the government’s application to modify the Rafale judgment and Review pleas by various petitioners to re-consider the December 14 verdict of the court are lying dormant in the court registry, waiting for lawyers to correct defects in the documents filed.
The CJI made it clear that the delay in listing the case is not the court’s duty but that of the lawyers concerned.
It has been over a month since the pleas were filed in the court.
The occasion for the CJI to clear the air on the Rafale reviews came during the oral mentioning of an unrelated case by a lawyer.
Recently, the Supreme Court recused its guidelines to avoid the phenomenon of lawyers crowding the courtrooms to orally mention their cases for an early hearing. The court under the CJI has devised a mechanism by which cases are listed the very same week they are filed.
However, this particular lawyer began to complain that the registry was not listing his case.
To this, the CJI replied that the registry may not be at fault. The lapse in some cases lay with lawyers too. They did not cure defects in their petitions on time for an early hearing of their cases. It was in this context, the CJI mentioned the state of the Rafale case.
“The other side [lawyers] are not so innocent,” the CJI retorted. In connection to the Rafale case, he said that instead of correcting the defects, these petitioners (review petitioners in the Rafale case) “go to the media and claim wide publicity.”
There is no word about the government application filed on December 15, 2018 for a correction in the Rafale judgment. The government has so far not made any oral mention before the court for an early hearing of its application.
In the application, the government has claimed that the apex court judgment erred in English grammar to “misinterpret” information submitted to it in a sealed cover note about the pricing of the 36 Rafale jets’ deal.
The review petitions filed by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Prashant Bhushan and Aam Admi party MP Sanjay Singh are also pending before the court. These petitions allege that the court judgment is riddled with fault lines. They want the court to reconsider its “erroneous” judgment, which relies on a “non-existent” CAG report to uphold the Rafale deal.
The petitioners contended that the judgment based on a hypothetical CAG report was not merely a “clerical or arithmetical slip” but a substantial error. They wanted a “recall” of the verdict.
The petitioners also questioned the judgment’s dismissal of lack of sovereign guarantee from the French government’s side as a “minor deviation”.