Former Chief Justice of India and Rajya Sabha MP Ranjan Gogoi in an exclusive interview to Republic TV's Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami opened up on the Rafale case. The Supreme Court dismissed the review petitions in the Rafale case against its December 14, 2018 judgment upholding the 36 Rafale jets' deal, giving a clean chit to the Modi government. The review petitions asked for a review in the jet deal with French firm Dassault Aviation. The five-judge bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul, and K M Joseph pronounced the contentious judgment.
Speaking about the same, the former CJI said that he would not defend his judgment and stated it to be a unanimous verdict by three judges. He further elaborated on the course of the decision asserting that judgment speaks for itself.
"Retired judges don't defend or explain their judgments. They only criticise the judgments of others. So, I can't defend my judgment," said Ranjan Gogoi.
"I have no basis to substantiate. Rafale was a judgment that was unanimous by three judges and the reasons are there. The court did not find any evidence of any further inquiry and closed the matter. If there was no prima facie case for futher inquiry there could not be a case for institution for FIR. That's the view that the two judges took. That judgment speaks for itself," he added.
In May 2019, a three-judge bench had reserved verdict in the petition seeking review of the earlier December 14 judgment on the government-to-government deal to procure 36 Rafale aircraft. The top court rejected the plea that there was a necessity for registration of an FIR in connection with the Rafale deal.
The Supreme Court had looked into three aspects of the deal - the decision-making process, the pricing and the choice of the Indian offset partner. It had found no occasion to doubt the decision-making process and said it didn't find anything wrong in the selection of Indian offset partner by manufacturer Dassault. On the third criterion, it had said it wasn't its job to go into the pricing aspects.
However, an error was pointed out in the judgment regarding the pricing details following which the Centre filed a correction application. This had to do with the Supreme Court relying on the Central government's assertion - contained in a sealed cover - that the pricing details had been shared with the CAG and the report by the government's auditor had been placed before the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee.
However, the CAG report hadn't yet been placed before the PAC at the time that the case was being heard. Even as the Centre sought a correction over what was cited as a misinterpretation of language used in the sealed cover, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan had sought a re-examination of the SC's findings.
On Monday evening, President Ramnath Kovind nominated former CJI Gogoi as a Rajya Sabha MP. The President has under clause (1) of Article 80 of the Constitution, nominated the former CJI to fill the vacancy in Rajya Sabha due to the retirement of one of the nominated member. Gogoi had retired after pronouncing the historic Ayodhya verdict. 51 seats in Rajya Sabha will fall vacant in April, five more in June, one in July, and 11 in November this year.
Days after his nomination to the Rajya Sabha by President Ramnath Kovind, former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday morning has taken the oath. As Gogoi took the oath in presence of Rajya Sabha Chairman and vice president Venkaiah Naidu, the opposition staged a walkout. The opposition has been attacking the former CJI after the President on March 16 nominated him as the Rajya Sabha member.