No Relief For Rahul Gandhi In Defamation Case, Surat Court Rejects Request

Latest News

In a massive setback for Rahul Gandhi, a court in Gujarat today rejected his request to pause his conviction in a defamation case over his 2019 “Modi surname” remark.
This means Rahul Gandhi cannot be reinstated as Member of Parliament for now.

Rahul Gandhi had requested that his conviction be paused pending his appeal against a court order sentencing him to two years in jail. The trial court, said the Congress leader, had treated him harshly, overwhelmingly influenced by his status as an MP.

The court in Surat disagreed.

“Rahul Gandhi failed to demonstrate that by not staying the conviction and denying an opportunity to contest the election, an irreversible and irrevocable damage will be caused to him,” said trial court judge Robin Mogera.

The judge also quoted the Supreme Court as saying that decisions to pause conviction should be exercised with caution and “not in a casual and mechanical manner… that will shake public confidence in the judiciary”.

Rahul Gandhi, 52, was convicted by a court and sentenced to prison for two years in Gujarat on March 23 for his speech during the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign. BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi had filed the case over Rahul Gandhi saying: “How come all thieves have the common surname Modi?” The lower court had granted Mr Gandhi bail for 30 days to appeal the verdict.

Mr Gandhi’s Lok Sabha seat Wayanad in Kerala is vacant and due for by-elections. Had the court paused the conviction today, his disqualification as an MP could have been reversed.

Rahul Gandhi had made “certain derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in general public and further compared the persons having ‘Modi’ surname with thieves and the complainant is also having surname of Modi,” judge Mogera said.

“The Appellant was not an ordinary person and was a sitting MP, connected with public life. Any word spoken by the appellant would have a large impact in the mind of the common public,” the judge asserted, adding that a “high standard of morality” was expected from a person like him.

Mr Gandhi approached the sessions court on April 3 against the lower court’s order. His lawyers also filed two applications, one to hold the sentence and another to pause his conviction until a decision on his appeal.

The Congress leader argued that the sentence was excessive and contrary to law, and that if the order was not suspended, it would cause “irreparable damage” to his reputation. He also said he was sentenced in a way that he would be disqualified as a parliamentarian.

The judge said he did not agree that Mr Gandhi was deprived of a fair trial.

During arguments, BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, opposing Mr Gandhi’s request, called him a “repeat offender”.

Source Link

Leave a Reply