Published on: 09 July 2023 at 12:56 IST
The Gujarat High Court has rejected Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s plea for a stay on his conviction in a criminal defamation case related to his “Modi surname” remark. The Congress party has stated that it will challenge this decision in the Supreme Court.
Justice Hemant Prachchhak of the Gujarat High Court stated that Gandhi already faced multiple criminal cases across India and that the lower court’s decision to sentence him to two years in jail for his remarks was fair and legal. The court highlighted a complaint filed against Gandhi in Pune by the grandson of V D ‘Veer’ Savarkar and another complaint in Lucknow.
Gandhi lost his Lok Sabha membership from Wayanad after a metropolitan magistrate’s court in Surat convicted him on March 23 in a case filed by BJP’s Gujarat MLA Purnesh Modi. Gandhi challenged the order in a sessions court in Surat, which is still pending, along with a request for a stay on the conviction.
While granting him bail, the sessions court refused to stay the conviction on April 20. Subsequently, Gandhi approached the Gujarat High Court. Justice Prachchhak directed the district and sessions court in Surat to expedite the hearing of Gandhi’s appeal against the sentence.
Congress spokesperson and Gandhi’s counsel, Abhishek Singhvi, expressed disappointment over the Gujarat High Court’s dismissal of the plea but said it was not unexpected. He stated that Gandhi’s questions, supported by facts and figures on demonetization, the government’s stance on China, and the economic situation, had unsettled the government, leading it to seek ways to suppress his voice.
Singhvi also mentioned the circumstances surrounding the trial, where the complainant (BJP MLA Purnesh Modi) obtained a one-year stay on his own complaint and then revived it after a change in the bench. He emphasized that these were facts that spoke for themselves.
Congress leader P Chidambaram stated that the purpose of the defamation case was to disqualify Gandhi from Parliament. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge affirmed that no party leader or worker feared the BJP’s political conspiracy.