SC “perplexed”: Rafale hearing and Rahul Gandhi’s Contempt Petition listed on Different Dates

In a curious twist in the Rafale controversy, hearings in two matters related to the Rafale case that the court had previously directed be held on the same day, were not listed together. The first was the matter or the review petition in the Rafale case, and the second was a contempt petition against Rahul Gandhi.

Supreme Court

While the former came up for hearing today, the SC was “perplexed” to learn that the latter had been listed for May 10, despite its clear directive that both matters be listed together. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reportedly asked, “Why is the contempt matter not listed today? We are hearing both together.”

The matter was adjourned and listed for May 10 to be heard at 2 pm.

Brief background of Rafale Review Petiton:
In the Rafale deal, petitioners Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and Prashant Bhushan filed review petitions against the December 2018 judgment in the case in light of new revelations that show that the government had made inaccurate/false submissions before the court. But the Center objected to the admissibility of new documents saying they had been stolen/illegally obtained and also that this was tantamount to a violation of the Official Secrets Act.

However, the SC rejected the center’s stand and said that the review petitions would be heard on their own merit. On April 30, the central government sought time to file its counter in the case and subsequently filed two affidavits; one rebutting the petitoners’ grounds for a review of the December 2018 judgment, the second a reply to the petitioners’ application demanding the production of specific documents in the case.

Rahul Gandhi Contempt Petition:
Rahul Gandhi had wrongly attributed the comment “Chowkidar Chor Hai” to the Supreme Court while speaking to media persons during his election campaign. This led to a contempt of court notice from the SC to Gandhi. Gandhi promptly expressed regret that his statement was “juxtaposed and intermingled” with the April 10 court decision on the admissibility of leaked documents. Gandhi has also asked for a contempt plea by Meenakshi Lekhi.




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