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Case Summary: Manohar Lal Sharma v. Narendra Damodardas Modi

This post has been written by Mamta Kumari, a law student from Banasthali Vidyapith.

TITLE OF THE CASE– Manohar Lal Sharma v. Narendra Damodardas Modi

DATE OF DECISION– 14 December, 2018

CASE NUMBER– WP(Cri.) 225/2018; RP(Cri) 46/2019

COURT- Supreme Court of India

JUDGES– Ranjan Gogoi, K.M. Joseph, Sanjay Kishan Kaul,

PARTIES- Petitioner: Manohar Lal Sharma; Vineet Dhanda, Yashwant Sinha, Sanjay Singh

Respondent: Narendra Damodardas Modi (Prime Minister), Union of India, Central Bureau of Investigation.

LAWYERSPetitioner: Prashant Bhushan, Manohar Lal, Vineet Dhanda

Respondent: Attorney General KK Venugopal, ASG Tushar Mehta




Contention of Petitioner-

The petitioner contended that there is a pricing irregularity in the contract as the price which was decided earlier and in the new deal is not same and the deal is almost corrupted. Further it says that the decision-making process was also not proper. The selection of Anil Ambani’s Reliance as the Indian Offset Partner was also questioned.

Contention of Respondent-

The respondent contended that the Indian Government agreed on a better term and negotiated well in respect of price of aircraft and delivery of it and claims that there is a commercial advantage in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter Aircraft. Further contended that the agreement is in conformity with the correct procedure to be followed for it.


The Court passed judgment and held that the Rafale Fighter Jet deal do not suffer from any irregularity and there is nothing found against the purchase of 36 Fighter jets by the Indian Government. The prayer sought for ordering the investigation by Central Bureau of Investigation to file FIR and Investigation regarding deal was also dismissed.

The court further held that the Court cannot interfere so much in the matter of Defence contract as it has a limited scope of judicial scrutiny in it. The court said that in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, the scope of judicial review is restricted specially in the defence procurement matters and the purchase of Rafale fighter aircraft is also the matter of national security contracts.

Court held that the old contract was between UPA Government and Dassault Aircraft company which was for the purchase of 126 Aircrafts and was not concluded due to unsolved terms between Hindustan Aeronautic Limited  and Dassault Aircraft due to which it was withdrawn in 2015. This was the reason that the new Government undertook new -intergovernmental agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale Fighter Jets.

The contract between Indian Prime Minster, Narendra Modi and French President was the fresh deal with a fresh procedure. In the matter of selection of Indian Offset Partner(IOP), the court held that as per the Defence Offset Guideline, there is a choice to select any Indian Company as its Indian Offset Partner and the joint venture agreed was valid and is purely a valid commercial agreement.


Against the judgment of Supreme Court, three review petitions were filed which challenged the judgment. The petitioners prayed for recalling the judgment and claims that the judgment passed suffers from the error apparent to the record as the court did not considered critical facts submitted by the petitioner. Further the petitioner took a plea that the court had not dealt with the consideration of Prashant Bhushan’s main prayer during the previous proceedings.

Court’s view regarding review petition

While dealing with the review petition-


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