New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday made it clear that remarks made by Rahul Gandhi in the media on the Rafale case verdict were “incorrectly attributed” to the apex court and directed the Congress President to give his explanation by April 22.
The apex court said it will consider the petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi seeking contempt action against Gandhi for attributing some observations to the apex court which was not in the Rafale judgement.
“We make it clear that views, observations, findings attributed to this court in the alleged speeches, remarks made by Gandhi to media/public have been incorrectly attributed to this court. We also make it clear that this court had no occasion to make such observation in as much as it was deciding legal admissibility of certain documents which were objected by the attorney general,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
The bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said, “Having clarified the matter we deem it appropriate to seek explanation of Gandhi.” The bench further said the explanation by Gandhi has to be filed on or before next Monday and the matter will be heard on April 23 (next Tuesday).
Lekhi, who is a sitting Lok Sabha MP from New Delhi constituency, has in her plea alleged that Gandhi has attributed his personal remarks to the top court and tried to create prejudice.
At the outset, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Lekhi, said it is a gross case of contempt committed by Gandhi who incorrectly attributed some remarks to the apex court about its judgement on Rafale case.
Rohatgi said Gandhi had come out in the public to make a remark that the “Supreme Court in its judgement said “Chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hain” The bench said, “You were right to the extent we never said what has been brought in the petition. We will seek clarification”.
After making the remarks, the bench dictated the order. The Congress president had on April 10 claimed that the apex court has made it “clear” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “committed a theft”. He had made the statement while interacting with reporters in Amethi after filing his nomination papers where he is contesting against BJP leader and union minister Smriti Irani.
Gandhi had also recalled a recent interview by the prime minister, in which Modi had said the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to his government on the Rafale deal.
The apex court, which had earlier cleared the Modi government of accusations of corruption over the Rafale deal with France, on April 9 said it will hear a review petition on the basis of the new documents, referred to by petitioners.
It had on April 10 allowed the plea of petitioners relying on leaked documents for seeking review of its Rafale judgement and dismissed the government’s preliminary objections claiming “privilege” over them.
“I am happy and I have been saying so for months that Hindustan’s PM has given the air force money to (industrialist) Anil Ambani, and the SC has accepted it. The SC is going to investigate it,” Gandhi had said. “I want to thank the SC. It’s a very happy day. The SC has talked about justice. Justice has prevailed,” he had added.
The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.