A Rafale fighter jet, manufactured by Dassault Aviation SA, performs maneuvers during an aerobatic flying display at the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, in Paris, France. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Rafale Deal: Supreme Court Asks Centre To Provide Details Of Decision-Making Process

The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to provide details of the decision making process in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France in a sealed cover but clarified that it does not want information on pricing and technical particulars.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, also made it clear that it was not taking into account the allegations on corruption in the deal made in the petitions.

The Centre opposed the public interest litigations in court and sought that they be dismissed on the ground that they were filed to gain political mileage.

Attorney General KK Venugopal told the apex court that the issue in question pertains to national security and such issues cannot be reviewed judicially.

The apex court, however, did not issue notice to the Centre on two PILs filed by two separate lawyers seeking a court-monitored probe into the deal.

The court sought information from the Centre on the decision making process behind the deal in a sealed cover by Oct. 29 and fixed the next hearing on the PILs to Oct. 31.

The top court was hearing various petitions seeking directions, including asking the Centre to reveal details of the deal and the comparative prices during the United Progressive Alliance and National Democratic Alliance rule in a sealed cover to the apex court.

Congress leader and RTI activist Tehseen Poonawala withdrew his PIL against the fighter jet deal.

His plea had sought a direction against the Centre on why the Union Cabinet's approval was not sought as part of the Defence Procurement Procedure before signing the procurement deal with France on Sept. 23, 2016.

Also read: Hollande Contradicts Himself; Dassault Chose Reliance On Its Own, Says Arun Jaitley On Rafale Deal

The Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between the governments of India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as a part of the process of upgrading Indian Air Force’s equipment.

The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

Indian Air Force had advanced a proposal to buy 126 fighter aircraft in August 2007 and floated a tender. Following this, an invitation was sent to various aviation companies to participate in the bidding process.