Surat Court Rejects Rahul Gandhi’s Request in Defamation Case :
Rahul Gandhi, the former president of the Indian National Congress, suffered a major setback when a court in Gujarat rejected his plea to pause his conviction in a defamation case on April 20, 2023. The case pertains to his 2019 remark about the “Modi surname,” in which he allegedly defamed the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Gandhi had sought a halt on his conviction while he appeals against the two-year jail sentence handed down by a lower court. The rejection of his request means that he cannot be reinstated as a Member of Parliament, at least for the time being.
The Congress leader had argued that the trial court had treated him harshly and had been overwhelmingly influenced by his status as an MP. He had maintained that his remarks were made in the context of a political campaign and were not intended to harm anyone’s reputation.
The court’s decision to deny his request for a stay on his conviction will likely have significant implications for the Congress party, as Gandhi is a prominent leader and a member of one of India’s most influential political families. The ruling is also likely to impact the larger political landscape in the country, as the Congress party has been positioning itself as a key challenger to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the lead-up to the 2024 general election.
Surat Court Disagrees with Rahul Gandhi’s Request in Defamation Case :
Trial court judge Robin Mogera stated that Rahul Gandhi failed to demonstrate how his conviction and disqualification as an MP would cause “irreversible and irrevocable damage” to him, and hence, the court denied his request to stay his conviction in the defamation case. The judge also referred to the Supreme Court’s view that decisions on pausing convictions should be made with caution and not in a casual and mechanical manner to maintain public confidence in the judiciary.
The Congress leader was sentenced to two years in prison by a court in Gujarat on March 23 for his alleged derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign. BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi had filed the defamation case against Rahul Gandhi for stating, “How come all thieves have the common surname Modi?” Let us tell you that The lower court granted him bail for 30 days to appeal the verdict.
The rejection of his request for a stay on his conviction means that Rahul Gandhi cannot contest elections and be reinstated as an MP until his appeal is pending. If the conviction had been paused, his disqualification as an MP could have been reversed.
Judge Mogera noted that Rahul Gandhi was not an ordinary person and was a sitting MP connected with public life, and therefore, any word spoken by him would have a significant impact on the common public. The judge asserted that a high standard of morality was expected from a person like him.
Rahul Gandhi had approached the sessions court on April 3 against the lower court’s order and had filed two applications – one to hold the sentence and another to pause his conviction until a decision on his appeal. His lawyers had argued that the sentence was excessive and contrary to law, and if the order was not suspended, it would cause “irreparable damage” to his reputation. However, the court did not find merit in these arguments.
During the arguments, BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, who opposed Rahul Gandhi’s request, called him a “repeat offender.”
Surat Court Rejects Rahul Gandhi’s Request in Defamation Case