No probe needed in Rafale fighter jet deal, rules Supreme Court

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 14, 2018, 10.35 AM(IST)

File photo of the Rafale fighter jet. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The bench comprises of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench today said that detailed scrutiny of the Rafale fighter jet deal was not required.

Chief Justice of India(CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said the need and quality control of the Rafale deal wasn't in question. The top court ruled out probe into the pricing details of the deal.

"There is no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the Rafale deal," the court said while delivering the verdict.

"We can't compel the government to purchase 126 aircrafts and its not proper for the court to examine each aspect of this case. It isn't a job of the court to compare pricing details," it said, adding,"we don't find substantial matter to interfere with the issue of procurement, pricing and offset partner in Rafale jet deal." 

The top court dismissed all petitions pertaining to the Rafale fighter jet deal.

"Perception of individuals can't be the basis for roving inquiry in sensitive issue of defence procurement," the apex court added. 

Last month, the Centre had submitted the pricing details of the 36 Rafale fighter jets to the top court.

The Centre in its submission had said that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approval was secured before the deal was inked with France. The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

The bench comprises of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.

India signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of the Indian Air Force equipment. The estimated cost of the deal is Rs 58,000 crore.

The petitions seeking the probe in the Rafale deal were first filed by advocates Manohar Lal Sharma and Vineet Dhanda. Later, AAP MP Sanjay Singh had also filed a petition.

Former union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan had also filed a joint petition in the apex court.