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Rafale case: Lawyer seeks hearing on PIL in Supreme Court after assembly polls in five states

File photo of a Rafale fighter jet. Photograph:( AFP )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 30, 2018, 07.52 PM (IST)

A lawyer, who was the first to drag the NDA government to the Supreme Court over Rafale aircraft deal, filed an interim plea seeking his PIL be heard after Assembly polls in five states which are scheduled in November, in order to counter an allegation that his was a politically-motivated petition.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is likely to hear the two PILs on Wednesday, filed by lawyers Manohar Lal Sharma and Vineet Dhanda, on India’s deal with France to buy the fighter jets. The lawyer mentioned Tuesday the plea before the bench, which asked him to provide its copy on Wednesday.

On October 10, the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, had directed the Centre to provide in a sealed cover the “details of the steps” taken in the decision making process, sans pricing and technical information, which led to the deal.

Sharma, who filed an interim plea in his pending PIL, has referred to certain media reports to allege that the French Dassault company “accepted to work with Reliance as an ‘imperative and obligatory’ condition for securing the fighter contract”.

Besides seeking nod to initiate the detailed arguments, the lawyer has also sought a direction to Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited and its head to file “all relevant documents of the Rafale deal belonging to them”.

The lawyer, in his PIL, has sought to quash the inter-government agreement between India and France on account of the violation of “defence procurement procedure” and subsequent registration of an FIR in the case.

The apex court had earlier termed the averments made in the two PILs as “grossly inadequate” and had made it clear that it was not issuing notice on them, but had wanted to satisfy itself about the legitimacy of the decision-making process.

The poll panel recently announced the dates for assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana which would conclude by November end.

Story highlights

On October 10, the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, had directed the Centre to provide in a sealed cover the "details of the steps" taken in the decision making process, sans pricing and technical information, which led to the deal.