The Supreme Court in its verdict on the Rafale deal yesterday dismissed all petitions for investigation citing that perception of an individual is not reason enough for the Supreme Court to interfere. The apex court in its verdict had observed that the pricing of the jets had been shared with the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) and the CAG report was examined by the PAC (Public Accounts Committee).
However, PAC Chairman senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had claimed that he had never seen the report. Kharge had accused the central government of ‘misleading’ the Supreme Court by presenting wrong facts regarding the CAG report. He accused the government of ‘feeding wrong information’ to the Supreme Court.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi went on an offensive and said that the SC verdict was based on the CAG report which was never discussed by the PAC as it appeared in the judgement.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi: How can it be possible that the foundation of SC judgement saying that pricing has been discussed in CAG report…PAC chairman (M Kharge) is sitting here, how come he never saw it. No one in PAC ever saw it. But Supreme Court saw it. #RafaleDeal pic.twitter.com/WWYR4fzZpe
— ANI (@ANI) December 14, 2018
This is not true. In the judgement pronounced yesterday, the Supreme Court had clearly mentioned that the government had shared the pricing details with the Supreme Court.
The Court was slightly on the secretive side while talking about the pricing, obviously, for national security concerns. The court, however, did say that it was compared the price of the previous deal and current deal and suffices to say that the official respondents say there is a financial benefit to the country.
This shows that the Supreme Court verdict was not based only on the CAG report.
However, the Central Government today filed a writ petition for correction and directions regarding the judgement so that the scope of misinterpretation is eliminated.
In the petition, the government says that perhaps the Supreme Court misinterpreted the note submitted by the government in a sealed cover in compliance with the order dated 31st October 2018. Referring to paragraph 25 of the judgement, the Government shares part of the note it had shared with the SC.
The government explains that the details of pricing shared with the CAG is in the past tense, and it is factually correct. Second part of the point talks about the CAG report being examined by the PAC. The note said “the report of the CAG is examined by the PAC”, however, the judgement replaces “is” with “has been”, reading it as ‘the report of the CAG has been examined by the PAC”.
The Government has explained that the meaning of the term CAG report “is” examined by the PAC was the description of the procedure followed when it comes to CAG reports. That the term “is” used in present tense since it means what would be the procedure followed as and when the CAG report is ready.
That the note of government was misinterpreted by the SC and it has led to a huge controversy in the public domain where many people have raised doubts over the fairness of the Supreme Court. To that, the government has requested the Supreme Court to make the appropriate changes in the order.
The government, in its petition, also requested the Supreme Court to pass further orders it deems just and proper so as to end the controversy.
Hence, while the Central Government has filed a petition for correction in the Supreme Court verdict, the judgement would still hold since it is formed on the basis of pricing details examined by the Court and not just the CAG report.