Explain contemptuous remarks on Rafale verdict, says Supreme Court in notice to Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi recently announced that his party would implement a minimum income guarantee scheme for every poor if his party comes to power at the Centre. Photograph:( PTI )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 15, 2019, 12.08 PM (IST) Jessica Taneja

The Supreme Court of India on Monday directed Congress president Rahul Gandhi to explain his alleged contemptuous remarks on recent the April 10 Rafale verdict.

The court has asked Rahul Gandhi has to reply to the notice by April 22.

"We make it clear that views, observations, findings attributed to this court in the alleged speeches, remarks made by Gandhi to media/public have been incorrectly attributed to this court. We also make it clear that this court had no occasion to make such observation in as much as it was deciding legal admissibility of certain documents which were objected by the attorney general," the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.

The bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said, "Having clarified the matter we deem it appropriate to seek explanation from Rahul Gandhi."

The court's directive came on a contempt petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi against Rahul Gandhi for his "chowkidar chor hai" remark for PM Modi. "The words used and attributed by him to Supreme Court in the Rafale case has been made to appear something else. He is replacing his personal statement as Supreme Court's order and trying to create prejudice," Lekhi said in her petition.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, was hearing the plea where senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued that Supreme Court's recent dismissal of preliminary objections raised by the government in the ongoing Rafale review plea hearing have been deliberately misinterpreted by the Congress president.

Rohatgi said that Rahul Gandhi had come out in the public to make a remark that the "Supreme Court in its judgement said 'Chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hai'."

The bench said, "You were right to the extent we never said what has been brought in the petition. We will seek clarification."

The Congress president had on April 10 claimed that the apex court has made it "clear" that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "committed a theft".

He had made the statement while interacting with reporters in Amethi after filing his nomination papers where he is contesting against BJP leader and Union minister Smriti Irani.

Rahul Gandhi had also recalled a recent interview by the Prime Minister, in which Modi had said the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to his government on the Rafale deal.

(With inputs from agencies)