The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central government to provide details in a sealed cover of the decision-making process in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France by October 29, but clarified that it does not want information on pricing and technical particulars.
The Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph, also made it clear that it was not taking into account the allegations of corruption in the deal made in the petitions.
The court was hearing various petitions seeking directions, including asking the Centre to reveal details of the deal and the comparative prices during the UPA and NDA regimes in a sealed cover to the court.
The Centre opposed the petitions and sought that they be dismissed on the ground that they were filed to gain political mileage.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that the issue in question pertained to national security and such issues could not be reviewed judicially.
The court, however, did not issue notice to the Centre on two PIL petitions filed by two lawyers, seeking a court monitored probe into the deal.
The court fixed the next hearing of the petitions on October 31.
RTI activist Tehseen Poonawala withdraws plea
Congress leader and RTI activist Tehseen Poonawala withdrew his PIL plea, which had sought a direction against the Centre on why the Cabinet approval was not sought as part of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) before signing the procurement deal with France on September 23, 2016.
The Rafale deal is an agreement signed between the governments of India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly-away condition as a part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force.
The Rafale is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by Dassault Aviation.
The Indian Air Force had advanced a proposal to buy 126 fighter aircraft in August 2007 and floated a tender. Following this, an invitation was sent to various aviation companies to participate in the bidding process.