Rafale Verdict Clears Way For CBI Probe, Say Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie

Akshay Deshmane
NEW DELHI, INDIA NOVEMBER 14: Former Union Minister Arun Shourie and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan walk out of the Supreme Court after the hearing for the probe in to alleged Rafale scam, on November 14, 2018 in New Delhi, India. 

NEW DELHI—The Supreme Court’s review judgement has “paved the way for further investigation” by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the controversia Rafale aircraft deal, said senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan and former Bharatiya Janata Party member Arun Shourie on Friday afternoon. 

Speaking at the Press Club of India in New Delhi, Bhushan and Shourie cited the concurring judgement of Justice K M Joseph to argue that though the Supreme Court had dismissed their petition, it had opened the door for a CBI inquiry into the Rafale aircraft deal—something they have been demanding for the past year. 

Bhushan cited three specific paragraphs from Justice Joseph’s minority judgement to argue that, even if it is a minority judgement and the main judgement authored by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the review petition, the CBI is now legally bound to investigate the controversial Rafale aircraft deal. 

“You see, there is a misconception. Some people feel that this judgement is only of one judge, Justice Joseph. And the majority consisting of Justice Kaul and Chief Justice Gogoi dismissed the review. Yes, they have dismissed the review but Justice Kaul and Justice Gogoi have not said anything to the contrary to what Justice Joseph has said about the legal necessity of an FIR being registered and the matter being investigated by the CBI; of the imperative legal need and the command of the constitution bench in the Lalita Kumari case,” explained Bhushan while speaking with reporters. 

The senior lawyer was pointing to the fact that in Lalita Kumari v. Government of Uttar Pradesh and others case, the Supreme Court mandated the registration of a First Investigation Report if a police officer receives information regarding a cognizable offence. 

In the majority judgement, the SC had said that it found no merit in the review petitions and dismissed them. 

While agreeing with this, in his judgement, Justice Joseph...

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