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Supreme Court to Hear Rahul Gandhi’s Appeal in Defamation Case

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Published on: 1 August 2023 at 11:10 IST

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi has been accused of displaying arrogance and failing to apologize for his “All Thieves have Modi surname” remark, according to the complainant in the criminal defamation case against Gandhi.

The complainant, Purnesh Modi, argued before the Supreme Court against a stay on the conviction and sentence handed down to Gandhi by a Magistrate court.

Purnesh Modi stated that Gandhi’s words had maligned a blameless class of individuals with his reckless and malicious remarks. He emphasized that Gandhi’s lack of remorse and contrition at the time of sentencing displayed arrogance.

The complainant further contended that Gandhi had used scurrilous language against a large group of people who had caused no harm to him.

The case stemmed from Gandhi’s statement during an election rally in Karnataka’s Kolar constituency in 2019, where he linked Prime Minister Narendra Modi with fugitives like Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi.

The remark, which questioned the common “Modi” surname among thieves, led to accusations of humiliation and defamation by Purnesh Modi, a former BJP Member of Legislative Assembly.

Following his conviction on March 23, Gandhi sought a stay on the conviction and two-year jail term from the Magistrate court in Gujarat’s Surat. However, the request was rejected by the sessions court in Surat and subsequently by the High Court.

Now, the matter is before the Supreme Court, which has sought responses from Purnesh Modi and the Gujarat government.

In his response to the Supreme Court, Purnesh Modi argued that Gandhi had refused to apologize for his remarks on multiple occasions.

He asserted that the “Modi” surname refers to an identifiable collection of persons, including the Modi community in the State of Gujarat.

Therefore, Purnesh Modi prayed that Gandhi’s conviction and sentence should not be set aside, as the Congress leader had defamed not only an elected Prime Minister but also the entire Modi surname community, demonstrating his animosity towards the community.

The response was filed on behalf of Purnesh Modi through his advocate PS Sudheer, drawn by advocate Harshit S Tolia, and settled by Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani.