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Lawyer Who Took NDA Government To Court Seeks Hearing On PIL In Rafale Case

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is likely to hear today the two PILs.

New Delhi: 

A lawyer, the first to drag the NDA government to the Supreme Court over the Rafale fighter jet deal, has filed an interim plea seeking hearing on his PIL after assembly polls in five states in November to counter the allegation that his was a politically-motivated petition.

The poll panel has recently announced the dates for assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana. They would conclude by November end.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is likely to hear today the two PILs, filed by lawyers Manohar Lal Sharma and Vineet Dhanda, on India’s deal with France to buy the fighter jets.

The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, on October 10 had directed the Centre to provide in a sealed cover the “details of the steps” taken in the decision making process, sans pricing and technical information, which led to the deal.

Mr Sharma, who filed an interim plea in his pending PIL, has referred to certain media reports to allege that the French Dassault company “accepted to work with Reliance as an ‘imperative and obligatory’ condition for securing the fighter contract”.

The lawyer mentioned the plea before the bench which asked him to provide its copy today.

Besides seeking nod to initiate the detailed arguments, the lawyer has also sought a direction to Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited and its head to file “all relevant documents of the Rafale deal belonging to them”.

The lawyer, in his PIL, has sought to quash the inter-government agreement between India and France on account of the violation of “defence procurement procedure” and subsequent registration of an FIR in the case.

The apex court had earlier termed the allegations made in the two PILs as “grossly inadequate” and had made it clear that it was not issuing notice on them, but had wanted to satisfy itself about legitimacy of the decision making process.

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