Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Monday said that he was completely "perplexed" about the contempt case against Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the court's review of its order on the Rafale deal coming up on different dates, although the bench had clearly mentioned that both would be taken up on the same day.
While the review petition pertains to the Supreme Court taking a re-look at an earlier verdict clearing the Rafale aircraft deal with French aviation firm Dassault, the contempt case concerns an erroneous claim by Mr Gandhi at an election rally that the top court supports the Congress slogan "Chowkidar Chor Hai".
On April 30, the bench headed by Chief Justice Gogoi had stated in open court that the Rafale review and the contempt case would both come up for hearing on Monday. However, a copy of the order later published on the Supreme Court website retained the review hearing for Monday while posting the case against Mr Gandhi to May 10, a day before the start of the summer vacation.
The bench, also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, has now listed both the cases for hearing at 2 pm on May 10.
During the brief hearing on Monday, the petitioner - advocate Prashant Bhushan - told the bench that he was ready to argue in favour of the review pleas as well as an application seeking the production of certain documents for the purpose of "just adjudication". He also sought that Arun Shourie, his co-petitioner, be allowed to present his arguments for a separate application seeking a penalty for unknown government servants who allegedly misled the court during the previous hearing into the Rafale case.
In its verdict on December 14, 2018, the top court had held that there was no reason for it to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, and dismissed all petitions seeking an investigation into alleged irregularities in the multi-crore deal. It also said that there was no substantial evidence to suggest that any private entity was shown favouritism in the case.
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