Government of India to file information about decision-making process regarding purchase of 36 Rafale Fighter Jets sans issues of pricing and technical suitability: SC

Supreme Court: A bench comprising of C.J. Ranjan Gogoi and Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph, JJ. sought information from the Government of India about the details of the steps in the decision-making process leading to the award of purchase order for 36 Rafale Fighter Jets.

The Bench allowed the petitioner to argue the case in-person in a criminal writ petition wherein questions were raised over the Rafale deal whereby India had agreed to purchase 36 Rafale Fighter Jets made by a French company Dassault. In its order, the Court made it clear that it was not issuing any notice at the instant stage; however, it ought to be apprised by the Government about the steps involved in the decision-making process of awarding the contract. It was further clarified that while requiring the Government to produce the information, the purpose was solely to satisfy the Court and any averments made in the petition were not taken into account.

The Court stated in categorical terms that information which was sought would not cover the issue of pricing or the question of technical suitability of the equipment for purposes of the requirements of the Indian Air Force. The requisite information was directed to be placed before the Court in three separate sealed covers on or before 29 October 2018, to be filed with the Secretary General of the Court. The matter is further listed for 31 October 2018. [Manohar Lal Sharma v. Narendra Damodardas Modi,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1920, dated 10-10-2018]

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