The Supreme Court on Thursday will pronounce the judgements on the review petitions filed on the issue of entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple, the Rafale fighter jet deal, where the top court will review its December 2018 ruling of not ordering a CBI probe into the deal and the criminal contempt plea filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi for wrongly attributing to the apex court his "chowkidar chor hai" remark in Rafale case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
What is Sabarimala case?
The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking re-examination of its decision to allow entry of women of all age group in Kerala's Sabarimala Temple. The apex court will deliver its judgement on as many as 65 petitions -- including 56 review petitions and four fresh writ petitions and five transfer pleas -- which were filed after its verdict sparked violent protests in Kerala.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had reserved its decision on February 6 after hearing various parties including those seeking re-consideration of the September 28, 2018 judgement. Other members of the bench are justices RF Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. The apex court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, on September 28, 2018, had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous Ayyappa shrine in Kerala and had held that this centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional.
What is Rafale deal case?
The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce its verdict on petitions seeking a review of its judgement giving a clean chit to the Modi government in the Rafale fighter jet deal with French firm Dassault Aviation. On May 10, the apex court had reserved the decision on the pleas, including one filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seeking a re-examination of its findings that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph is likely to pronounce verdicts on three review petitions filed by the trio, lawyer Vineet Dhandha and Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker Sanjay Singh. On December 14, 2018, the apex court dismissed the petitions seeking an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Rs 58,000 crore deal. However, while reserving the judgement on the review petitions, the apex court had posed searching questions to the Centre on its deal with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets on issues like "waiver of sovereign guarantee" and the absence of technology transfer clause in the IGA pact.
The bench had referred to a judgement in the Lalita Kumari case which said that an FIR is must when information revealed commission of cognizable offence.
What is Rahul Gandhi case?
The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce its verdict on the criminal contempt plea filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi for wrongly attributing to the apex court his "chowkidar chor hai" remark in Rafale case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gandhi had made the remarks on April 10, the day the apex court had dismissed the Centre's preliminary objections over admissibility of certain documents for supporting the review petitions against the December 14 last year verdict in the Rafale case.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph had on May 10 reserved the judgement. Gandhi, who was then the President of the Congress Party, had told the bench that he has already tendered unconditional apology for wrongly attributing the remarks relating to the Prime Minister to the apex court. Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for Gandhi, had told the bench, that the Congress leader expressed regret over the wrongful attribution to the apex court.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Lekhi, had submitted that the apology tendered by Gandhi should be rejected and action must be taken against him as per the law. Rohatgi also argued that the court should ask Gandhi to make an apology to the public for his remarks. Gandhi had on May 8 tendered unconditional apology in the apex court for wrongfully attributing to it his "chowkidar chor hai" remark in the Rafale verdict and said that he holds the top court in the "highest esteem and respect" and any attributions to it were "entirely unintentional, non-wilful and inadvertent".
The three-page affidavit was filed by the then Congress president after he had drawn flak from the apex court on April 30 over his earlier affidavit in which he had not directly admitted his mistake for incorrectly attributing the allegedly contemptuous remark to the top court.
Lekhi filed the contempt plea against Gandhi for the "chowkidar chor hai" remarks against Modi, which the top court had said were incorrectly attributed to it. The apex court on April 15 had given a categorical clarification that in its Rafale verdict there was no occasion for it to make a mention of the contemptuous observation that "chowkidar Narendra Modi chor hain" as has been attributed to it by Gandhi.
(With PTI inputs)