The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought more details regarding the Rafale deal and asked the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to provide the pricing details of the deal within 10 days.
The apex court said it would “like to be apprised of the details with regard to pricing and cost particularly the advantages thereof, if any, which again will be submitted to the court in a sealed cover”.
K.K. Venugopal, representing the government, said that it would not be possible for the government to furnish pricing details of the deal since it had not been shared in the Parliament either. He further supported his argument saying that the pricing details was covered under the Official Secrets Act.
Responding to Venugopal, the top court asked him to make this point in their affidavit.
At the last hearing, the three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, justice SK Kaul and justice K M Joseph, has asked the government to furnish details of the decision-making process and also underlined that the report did not have to cover pricing. The bench also stated that it was seeking this information “for the purpose of satisfying ourselves.”
The development today goes one step ahead as the top court has now also sought pricing details of the Rafale deal.
The bench also said that they wanted the government to share the report with the petitioners as well.
“We are of the view that the information conveyed upon in the report, which can be legitimately be brought into the public domain be made available to the lead counsel of the petitioners in all cases. Along with the said facts, further details that could legitimately come in the public domain with respect to the induction of the Indian offset partner, if any, be also furnished to the lead counsel of the parties,” the bench ordered.
It also said that if there was some information that “may be considered to be strategic and confidential” may at this stage be shared with them and may not be provided to the petitioners.