Government Urges SC To Exercise Restraint In Observations On The Procurement Of Rafale Jets


New Delhi: The Government has urged the Supreme Court to “exercise restraint” in observations on the procurement of Rafale fighter jets, underlining that every statement by the Supreme Court will be used to target either the government or the opposition.

“Why should the court become a party to such an exercise,” the government’s top lawyer KK Venugopal told the bench that is to decide pleas to review its December ruling that did not find anything amiss in the deal.

Venugopal’s cautionary note to the judges comes at a time the Rafale deal is at the heart of the opposition campaign against government ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress-led opposition alleges malfeasance in the purchase to buy 36 fighter jets in an overpriced deal, a charge that the government denies.

The Narendra Modi government signed an agreement with France in 2016 for the purchase of Rafale fighter jets. Under the Rs 59,000-crore deal, French firm, Dassault Aviation will supply 36 Rafale fighter jets to India in flyaway condition. The delivery will begin from September this year.

“Every statement by this Court will be used to destablise either the government or the opposition….This is why I am appealing to this Court to exercise restraint. Defence procurements can’t be judicially examined,” Attorney General Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

Venugopal also referred to the recent intrusion by F-16 fighter jets of Pakistan Air Force in retaliation to Indian Air Force’s strikes at a Jaish terror camp run in Pakistan to justify the Rafale purchase.

“We are trying to protect the security of the country… Some F-16s come and bomb us. What we are to do?” he said.

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