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Friday, July 12, 2024

Surat Court rejects Rahul Gandhi’s plea for a stay on his defamation case

UncategorizedSurat Court rejects Rahul Gandhi's plea for a stay on his defamation case

The recent conviction of Indian politician Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case filed by a Bharatiya Janata Party leader is based on a speech he gave in 2019.

If the Surat court had allowed Gandhi’s petition today, the Lok Sabha Secretariat would likely have had to restore his membership of the House.  Now, even Congress’s rivals like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) have come together on a common platform to stage protests against the Union government across the country for the “unfair” conviction of Rahul Gandhi.

The case is based on a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Purnesh Modi, based on a speech Rahul Gandhi had given in Kolar in 2019 in which he said, “I have a question. Why do all these thieves have Modi in their names whether it is Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, or Narendra Modi? We don’t know how many more such Modis will come out.”

The complainant maintained that Gandhi had defamed all people whose surname is Modi.Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that the party will avail of all the available legal options now, and appeal at the high court.

Congress leader and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi will brief the media about the party’s future legal course on Thursday evening. Gandhi’s appeal came up for hearing in the sessions court in front of Judge Robin Mogera.

The Wire reported Judge Mogera had served as BJP leader and now Union home minister Amit Shah’s lawyer in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case. Given the political importance of this case, coming on close to the 2024 general elections, it is possible that questions around a conflict of interest may be raised.

After being found guilty, Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by the Surat CJM court, which also gave him a period of 30 days to move a higher court against the order. Two years is the minimum sentence a lawmaker must face in order to be dismissed from parliament – and also the maximum sentence under the defamation law.

While finding him guilty, the judge said that Gandhi had insulted all persons with the Modi surname for his political interest. Gandhi is also facing a defamation case in Patna based on the same speech, on the basis of a complaint filed by BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi. The Congress leader has denied the allegations that his speech was defamatory, saying it can appear defamatory only if taken completely out of context.

The party has claimed that the conviction – at a time when Gandhi was raising the allegations against the Adani Group in parliament – was the BJP’s way of trying to silence Gandhi. The political fallout of Gandhi’s conviction and disqualification has been so tremendous that even Congress’s rivals like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) have come together on a common platform to stage protests against the Union government across the country.

Rahul Gandhi was found guilty and sentenced to two years imprisonment, which also disqualifies him as a lawmaker. The Congress party, of which Gandhi is a member, has said it will appeal the verdict and explore all legal options. There may also be questions raised about a conflict of interest involving the judge in the case, who had previously worked for a BJP leader. The political fallout of Gandhi’s conviction has been significant, with protests staged by various parties across the country.

Congress leader and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi will brief the media about the party’s future legal course on Thursday evening.

Gandhi is also facing a defamation case in Patna based on the same speech, on the basis of a complaint filed by BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi.

The Congress leader has denied the allegations that his speech was defamatory, saying it can appear defamatory only if taken completely out of context. The party has claimed that the conviction – at a time when Gandhi was raising the allegations against the Adani Group in parliament – was the BJP’s way of trying to silence Gandhi.

The political fallout of Gandhi’s conviction and disqualification has been so tremendous that even Congress’s rivals like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) have come together on a common platform to stage protests against the Union government across the country.

It would be interesting to note that this conviction comes from a 2019 case and it is now close to the 2024 elections, a move that would not permit Rahul Gandhi to contest in the elections.  Many netizens ask if this conviction is set out to sabotage his political career because the BJP is feeling threatened by him.

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