‘Rafale judgment lays bare the risks of using judiciary to carry forward political agendas’

The Supreme Court’s recent judgment on the issues relating to the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force is based on a scrutiny of three broad areas, namely on (i) decision making (ii) difference in pricing and (iii) choice of the Indian Offset Partner (IOP). On all the three issues mentioned above, the Supreme Court held against the writ petitioners.

On the aspect of the ‘decision making process’ in the Rafale deal, the court held, at para 22 of the judgment that there is no occasion to doubt the process and also that there is a financial advantage to the nation. At a broad level, the processes have been followed, the court had stated. On pricing, a reference to the court’s statement as per para 26 indicates that it is not the court’s job to compare pricing details in matters like this.

Most notably, para 33 rules out commercial favoritism to any party by the government. Ultimately, the Supreme Court closed the writ petitions with a wry observation that perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a “fishing and roving inquiry” by the Court, especially in such matters. Read More

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