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Rafale: Rahul Gandhi draws SC flak for not admitting mistake over his remarks

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi Tuesday drew flak from the Supreme Court over his fresh affidavit in which he did not directly admit his mistake for incorrectly attributing the allegedly contemptuous "chowkidar chor hai" remark to the apex court in the Rafale verdict.
"When you commit mistake, you should admit the mistake," said a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
It pointed out that at one point, Gandhi is admitting the mistake and at another denying having made the contemptuous remarks.
"We have great difficulty in understanding what you want to say in the affidavit," said the bench, also comprising justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
The bench, which gave another opportunity to Gandhi to file a better affidavit relating to his remark, said, "You make the statement and then justify it."

"Where in our order we have said so? How do you attribute all these statements to us?," the bench asked, wanting to know from Gandhi's counsel and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, "What is the meaning of expression 'regret' used in the bracket in the affidavit?"

"Regret is same as apology. I checked in the dictionary," replied Singhvi, who sought time from Tuesday to Monday to file a better affidavit to indicate that the Gandhi scion was sincerely apologising to the apex court.
The bench, which was anguished over the content of the affidavit, said: "How long you will keep on dragging this matter?"

Initially, the bench expressed its intention to expeditiously complete the matter saying, "We will hear your response and then close it".
However, Singhvi said senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Ruchi Kohli made a submission by distorting the essence of the affidavit and he would like to clear the confusion by putting the counter and explanation by arguing for 10 minutes.
Rohatgi and Kohli were appearing for BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi who has filed a criminal contempt petition against Gandhi for his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi that "chowkidar chor hai", which the apex court said was incorrectly attributed to it by the Congress chief.
The bench, which had asked Lekhi's counsel to read the Gandhi's affidavit, said: "You (Gandhi) are contradicting yourself in your affidavit. In one place, you said you did not intend to say it and in the next page you say you regret saying it."

"In one page you say I was misled, then you deny it. We will hear you. We will not disturb you. You go ahead," the bench told Singhvi.
Singhvi said Gandhi has been candid enough to admit in his affidavit that he has committed mistakes for which he has apologised also.
"I (Gandhi) am admitting the mistake and trying to show the mistake. You know me very well," Singhvi said, trying to win the confidence of the bench indicating about his reputation in the bar.
However, the CJI said, "I have no intention to know all of you very well".
After explaining the errors committed by Gandhi -- his wrongly attributing the 'chowkidar chor hai' and theft remark to the apex court, and the Supreme Court has accepted that there will be investigation in Rafale deal -- Singhvi said that the incorrect statements were attributed to the judges.
"I am saying sorry. I had attributed to the court. The use of regret in the affidavit is same as an apology. I have checked it in the dictionary," he said.
As Singhvi tried to change the course of the hearing by drawing attention of the bench on the political stand narrated in the affidavit, the CJI said, "We are not concerned with your political stand.
"Keep your political stand with yourself. We are not concerned with your political stand."

The CJI posted the matter for May 6.
The bench made it clear that opportunity to file additional affidavit is not an acknowledgement of the last two affidavits filed by Gandhi and its admissibility would be considered on the next date of hearing.
Singhvi made the submissions after Rohatgi said that Gandhi's affidavit is an "insult to the injury" and he has been repeating the contemptuous remark from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh to Katihar in Bihar.
He was referring to the public statements made by Congress president on April 10, the day the apex court had dismissed the Centre's preliminary objections over the admissibility of certain documents for supporting the review petitions against the December 14 last year verdict in the Rafale case.
"The Supreme Court is not a place for political slogan. Everything in the affidavit is cock and bull story," Rohatgi said, adding that "he is putting words in the mouth of the Supreme Court and when the Supreme Court says something, the people believes it. It is deliberate and he is dragging the court for politics".
"He is speaking that it is a moral victory. How can he say?," Rohatgi further said and dubbed Congress President as "completely irresponsible".
He said in the second affidavit also, Gandhi who is leading the 130-year-old Congress party, has used the expression regret in bracket.
"Either you justify what you have said or you tender an unconditional apology. It is a grossest case of contempt," he said.

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 7:05 PM IST

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