Twisting Supreme Court decision on Rafale ties Rahul up in knots

Meenakshi Lekhi filed this contempt petition following Rahul Gandhi's alleged act of passing off his own opinion as the Supreme Court decision

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New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party MP and lawyer Meenakshi Lekhi has filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against Rahul Gandhi on Friday for what she alleges was the Congress president’s act of contempt for the court.

After the Supreme Court accepted a controversial report published in The Hindu as permissible evidence in the Rafale case, the Congress president had said that the highest court of the country had accepted that the chowkidar, the name Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assumed for the election campaign, was a chor (corrupt).

Lekhi has filed this petition in reference to Rahul Gandhi’s remarks against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rafale fighter plane case.

The apex court will hear the case of contempt on Monday, 15 April.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was among the first to challenge Gandhi. She convened a press conference and attacked the Congress president. She said that the court’s decision was not a setback to the government because the court had only accepted the review petition.

In the Rafale case, the court has said that the review petition filed on the basis of ‘confidential’ documents obtained wrongly (or stolen) will be heard. The court had clarified that, before considering the facts of the Rafale deal, the court would decide on the initial objections raised by the Union government.

The government has claimed privilege on the documents related to the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. It told the Supreme Court that no one could present those papers without the permission of the concerned department under the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act.

The Attorney General had said that no one could publish documents related to national security as the security of the nation was paramount.

Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan had told the court that the documents were already in the public domain. He argued that the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act said that the people are supreme in the Indian sovereign and they could not be denied information for any kind of privilege.

The central government said that the petitioners who filed the review petition could not make some privileged documentation obtained illegally the basis of their case.

Attorney-General KK Venugopal, on behalf of the Centre, before the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph, cited Section 123 of the Act and the provisions of Right to Information Act in support of its argument, but it did not wash.