A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, dismissed petitions seeking a review of the December 14, 2018 judgment upholding the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft.

Rationale by SC bench

“The endeavour of the petitioners was to construe themselves as an appellate authority to determine each aspect of the Rafale deal. We cannot lose sight of the fact that we are dealing with a contract for aircraft pending before different governments for quite some time. The necessity for those aircraft has never been in dispute. This court did not consider it appropriate to embark on a roving and fishing enquiry,” Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul delivered the main judgment he co-authored with the CJI on Thursday.

Pricing issue

The court rejected the allegations on the pricing of the jets. It said it was not the function of the court to determine the prices. Such sensitive matters could not be dealt with on the mere suspicions of petitioners. Internal mechanism of such pricing would take care of the situation.

Comparing the price of bare aircraft and fully-loaded aircraft was like comparing apples and oranges. “Best leave pricing to the competent authorities,” the judges advised the petitioners.

Source: The Hindu

Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; Polity & Governance