Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Home Editor's picks SC verdict on Rafale deal: Read scathing comments made by Court while dismissing petitions...

SC verdict on Rafale deal: Read scathing comments made by Court while dismissing petitions for inquiry

While Rahul Gandhi and the members of his coterie have been screaming "chowkidaar chor hai" based on their perception, the court has dismissed the fear-mongering around this essential defence deal and chosen to uphold national security over the opposition's petty politics.

The Rafale deal which is an inter-governmental deal between the government’s of India and France for 36 Rafale fighter jets in flyaway condition has been in the eye of the storm for a rather long time. The opposition has used this necessary defence deal to train its guns against the Narendra Modi government to insinuate a scam and perhaps, drag the Prime Minister’s reputation to the same level as out-on-bail Rahul Gandhi.

In the past, there have been several explanations provided by Dassault Aviation, the Indian government, the French government, fact-checks and comments by experts to explain how no scam exists in the Rafale deal. The opposition, however, was undeterred.

Congress friendly career PILists like Prashant Bhushan and others filed a PIL in the Supreme Court asking the SC to intervene and order a court-monitored probe into the deal.  The SC today dismissed the petition and made some interesting comments in the process. Some of the comments vindicated what the counters to the opposition had been asserting for a long time, others were scathing in its own right.

First and foremost, the Supreme Court, in its Rafale judgement, confirmed that during the Congress regime, no final result was reached in the Rafale deal. Congress got an in-principle approval from Indian authorities, but the deal was only in the negotiation process. Hence, Rahul Gandhi’s rhetoric about how Congress wanted to buy 126 jets and BJP wants to buy only 36 doesn’t hold water. In fact, even in the judgement, it has been written that Congress was planning to buy only 18 jets in flyaway condition.

An interesting point that is made evident is that one of the petitioners, Vineet Dhanda, filed the petition “after reading newspaper articles and reports”. He had earlier been rapped by the SC in the PNB scam case and the court had questioned his motives. Just like Prashant Bhushan, Dhanda seems to be a career PIList, albeit, less famous.

The SC in the Rafale judgement observed that the extent to which the court can review procurements, contracts etc would depend from case to case and the decision has to be made keeping the confines of National Security in mind

The court observed that because of the ever-changing parameter on the basis of which the court can decide whether to intervene or not, the court had asked the government to apprise the court of the procedure. Interestingly, SC has reasserted that the allegations made by the petitioners were inadequate.

After asserting that none of the petitions actually questioned the need for the Rafales but questioned the procedure of procurement, the court points out why, according to the government, the deal for 126 aircraft could not go through.

The government has asserted that the man-hours taken by HAL to produce the aircraft were 2.7 times higher than the French side. The HAL argument was raised by Rahul Gandhi over and over again to insinuate that the Modi government and even the PM personally deprived HAL of the contract for ulterior gains. The government has also stated that Rafale was required to take contractual responsibility for the aircraft produced by HAL and Rafale was not willing to do so. This delay was not serving India’s defence capabilities as the enemy nations had already upgraded their defence system. Essentially, the government has asserted that the delay caused during the Congress regime cost India in terms of defence preparedness.

The government also said that it is because of this stalemate that the Congress regime negotiation had to be cancelled.

The government had informed the court after the formation of Indian Negotiation Team which commenced in May 2015 and continued till April 2016, a total of 74 meetings were held including 48 internal INT meetings and 26 external meetings between INT and the French side. The government has asserted that the terms the INT negotiated were far better than the MMRCA terms (Congress regime negotiations) and then, CCA approval was also taken for it.

Point 22 of the judgement is extremely crucial. The Supreme Court has observed that after going through all the material carefully and after interacting with several airforce officers, there is no occasion to doubt the process. In fact, in the judgement, the court has mentioned that it has even gone through material etc regarding the pricing of the deal.

The court has said that broadly the processes have been followed and that the long negotiations in the MMRCA (Congress regime negotiations) did not procure any results.

The court also said that the wisdom to cancel the defunct MMRCA cannot be questioned since our defence capabilities were being diminished after our enemies have acquired 5th generation aircrafts and we had none.

The court also observed that they are not going to demand clause by clause compliance and that the petitioners did not raise a stink earlier but only after Hollande’s statements.

Another big revelation in the judgement was that the government did share the pricing details with the court. 

The Rafale judgement, in para 22, states clearly that the pricing is not in the public forum (other than base price) even though the petitioners based on news articles have asserted escalation of price. The pricing has been shared with the CAG and the CAG report has been examined by the PAC. The Chief of Air Staff too said that sharing the pricing would result in a breach of national security and that the pricing details have been mentioned in Article 10 of the contract between India and France. In the end, the court says that “despite this reluctance, the material has still been placed before the Court to satisfy its conscience”.

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.

With respect to the off-set clause as well, the court made some scathing observations.

First, the court also takes cognisance of the fact that even in 2012, Dassault had entered into a pact for partnership with Reliance Industries. This was reported by OpIndia extensively.

Next, SC observes that despite the clause that says OEM will be free to select Indian offset partner, the petitioners kept emphasising that the French Government had no say in the matter. They have also stated that Dassault had no reason to engage with Reliance since it was incorporated only in 2015 and thus, the government gave benefit to Reliance by depriving HAL.

The court also observed that even earlier in 2012 Dassault got into a partnership with parent company Reliance and what transpired within the company is of no consequence. The Court held that seemingly, the Indian government had nothing to do with the commercial aspect and the. In fact, it has been stated that the role of the Indian government comes only when the vendor submits a formal proposal, which has not happened yet.

With respect to the role of HAL, that even Rahul Gandhi had spoken oodles about, the court was rather categorical in its observations. The court said that no specific role has been envisaged and that even earlier, there was friction between Dassault and HAL and Dassault was circumspect about tying up with HAL.

The SC in its Rafale judgement then made scathing observations. The Court said that “mere press interviews or suggestions cannot form the basis for judicial review by this Court”. The court said that there is “no material on record to show that this is a case of commercial favouritism to any party by the Indian government” to choose offset partner.

In conclusion, the court in its Rafale judgement has dismissed all petitions asking for an inquiry into the deal.

Perhaps the most scathing comment made by the Court is in the conclusions of its Rafale judgement that would ideally end the debate over Rafale.

Concluding its Rafale judgement, the Court says:

Perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a fishing and roving enquiry by this Court, especially in such matters. 

While Rahul Gandhi and the members of his coterie have been screaming “chowkidaar chor hai” based on their perception, the court has dismissed the fear-mongering around this essential defence deal and chosen to uphold national security over the opposition’s petty politics.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

Trending now

Five forms of apartheid that were wiped out when Article 370 was removed

It will be a year since Article 370 was abrogated and Jammu & Kashmir finally became an integral part of India without any riders attached.

Ram Lalla is not ‘Sabke Ram’, such claims are designed to weaken the Hindu claim to their own Gods

Ahead of the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan ceremony, a narrative of 'Sabke ram' is being created to deny the Hindu claim to Rama.

Breathtaking visuals of the proposed structure of Bhavya Ram Mandir released by Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra

Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra today released first visuals of the proposed Bhavya Ram Mandir structure.

NASDAQ billboard at NYC’s Times Square not to beam Lord Ram’s image after petitions by Muslim groups

Muslims groups in New York have objetected to the plan of displaying the images of Lord Ram on the large LED screens of Times Square on Bhoomi Pujan day.

Liberals, Islamists get triggered as Congress leaders show soft Hindutva ahead of Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

Priyanka Gandhi, Kamal Nath and Manish Tewari have posted tweets welcoming the bhoomi pujan of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya

“Will believe in coronavirus if Amit Shah dies”: Shaheen Bagh ‘activist’ Aiman Rizwi urges Muslims to pray for his death

Rizwi also strongly believes that Coronavirus is a myth and propagated to conceal failures of Modi government.

Recently Popular

Here is why #BabyPenguin is trending on Twitter, and why Aaditya Thackeray is called so by some

Yuva Sena registered complaint against twitter user for calling Aaditya Thackeray "Baby Penguin" and Uddhav Thackeray "Aurangzeb"

How one call from Chief Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi changed my views from ‘Why Ram Mandir’ to ‘Mandir Wahin Banayenge’

As we get closer to the dream of Bhavya Ram Mandir coming true, my perception of importance of the Ram Mandir underwent a transformation

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has a prolonged meltdown, announces a movie on Arnab Goswami, “Arnab, The News Prostitute”

Ram Gopal Varma vented his spleen against the Republic TV Editor-in-Chief in a series of tweets on Twitter.

Delhi Police confirm OpIndia report, say that Tahir Hussain has confessed he had planned the Delhi riots to teach Hindus a lesson

Tahir Hussain confesses before Delhi police that he had planned the Delhi Riots, collected materials in advance for the same

Why it’s wrong to call Aatish Taseer a ‘bastard’ even if he is one

All Amit Shah ever did to Taseer was revoke a privilege that allowed him to circumvent the usual visa application process that common people go through.

Delhi violence started with Ladeeda’s call to Jihad on 11th December, now, she has another message ahead of Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

Ladeeda Farzana, the face of the violent protests that swept Jamia Millia Islamia University last year, shared the picture of Babri structure with the message: "Never forget, never forgive"

Akhilesh Yadav as Chief Minister of UP banned the 84-kosi parikrama around the Ram Janmabhoomi. Read details

Akhilesh Yadav tried his best to prevent Hindus from practising their religious faith with regards to Shri Rama at Ayodhya.

’There’s a thin line between free speech and contempt that you may have crossed: SC rebukes Prashant Bhushan in 2010 contempt case

The said contempt case was registered against Bhushan for a 2009 interview to Tehelka magazine where he had accused the judiciary of corruption.

Five forms of apartheid that were wiped out when Article 370 was removed

It will be a year since Article 370 was abrogated and Jammu & Kashmir finally became an integral part of India without any riders attached.

Ram Lalla is not ‘Sabke Ram’, such claims are designed to weaken the Hindu claim to their own Gods

Ahead of the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan ceremony, a narrative of 'Sabke ram' is being created to deny the Hindu claim to Rama.

Ayodhya: Padmashri Mohd Sharif, who has been cremating unclaimed dead bodies for years, invited for Bhoomi Pujan

Mohammed Sharif was awarded the Padmashri in January this year for cremating thousands of unclaimed dead bodies over the past 27 years.

Breathtaking visuals of the proposed structure of Bhavya Ram Mandir released by Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra

Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra today released first visuals of the proposed Bhavya Ram Mandir structure.

NASDAQ billboard at NYC’s Times Square not to beam Lord Ram’s image after petitions by Muslim groups

Muslims groups in New York have objetected to the plan of displaying the images of Lord Ram on the large LED screens of Times Square on Bhoomi Pujan day.

Bangladesh: Communist politician Manisha Chakraborty slaughters 5 cows to distributes meat, promises ‘Kurbani’ of 30 cows next year

The politician stated that her team worked tirelessly from the morning to slaughter 5 cows and prepare the meat packets.

United States warns against planting mysterious seeds received in unsolicited packages originating in China

Unsolicited packages with mysterious seeds possibly originating from China have landed on many US residents triggering panic.

Liberals, Islamists get triggered as Congress leaders show soft Hindutva ahead of Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

Priyanka Gandhi, Kamal Nath and Manish Tewari have posted tweets welcoming the bhoomi pujan of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya

Related Articles

Connect with us

238,791FansLike
421,143FollowersFollow
289,000SubscribersSubscribe