Home/ News / India/  Can Rahul Gandhi contest 2024 general elections post conviction? Here's what law says

A day after the Surat court convicted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and in a defamation case and sentenced to two years in jail, he was on 24 March disqualified from the parliament.

According to the Surat Court's ruling on 23 March, though Gandhi was sentenced to two years in jail, he was granted bail on a bond of 10,000 and was given 30 days' time to file an appeal.

With opposition hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi government for targeting Rahul Gandhi, former Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal had said in 23 March that Gandhi stands automatically disqualified as an MP with his two-year jail sentence. "If it (the court) only suspends the sentence that's not enough. There has to be a suspension or stay of conviction. He (Rahul Gandhi) can stay on as a member of parliament only if there is a stay on the conviction," NDTV quoted Sibal as saying.

ALSO READ: LIVE: Rahul disqualified

What the law states?

According to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, makes it mandatory for any lawmaker to be disqualified on immediate basis who is "convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years".

Apart from this, those lawmakers if convicted for more than 2 years will have to vacate the seat immediately.

Can Rahul Gandhi contest 2024 General Elections?

If the Congress leader's conviction is not suspended or overturned by a higher court before the elections, he will not be able to contest the polls, as per law. RP Act provision says a person sentenced to imprisonment of two years or more shall be disqualified 'from the date of such conviction'. Apart from this, the leader also remains disqualified for another six years after serving time.

How Rahul Gandhi Can avoid this?

For Rahul Gandhi, he will have to secure an order from a higher court suspending the conviction. In case the conviction is stayed or overturned, the lawmaker can be reinstated to the parliament. However, this can only be possible, in case a fresh election to the seat is yet to be conducted.

Also, decrease in quantum of sentence to below 2 years will also nullify the disqualification, as per Representation of the People Act.

Congress in the meantime has said that it will appeal in a higher court against the Surat Court order.

MPs/MLA disqualified since 2013:

Upon conviction in cases, several of the MPs/MLAs have been disqualified since 2013, after being sentenced to jail term of two years and above. Leader include Lalu Yadav, then Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Rajya Sabha MP Rasheed Masud; MLAs Azam Khan and Abdullah Azam Khan; and Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal.

With agency inputs.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Updated: 24 Mar 2023, 04:07 PM IST
Recommended For You
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My Reads Watchlist Feedback Redeem a Gift Card Logout