Home/ News / India/  Rahul Gandhi disqualified by Parliament after conviction in 'Modi surname' case

Parliament has disqualified Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi as a lawmaker after a lower court found him guilty of defamation and sentenced him to two years in prison, as per a parliament notice that was released on Friday.

Gandhi "stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha", parliament said, referring to the lower house of parliament.

His disqualification as Wayanad MP is effective from March 23, the day of his conviction, the secretariat said in its notification.

Congress to fight the disqualification

Putting out the notice, Shashi Tharoor tweeted, I’m stunned by this action and by its rapidity, within 24 hours of the court verdict and while an appeal was known to be in process. This is politics with the gloves off and it bodes ill for our democracy.

Meanwhile, Congress president said, they (BJP) tried all ways to disqualify him. They don't want to keep those who are speaking the truth but we will continue to speak the truth. We'll continue to demand JPC, If needed we'll go to jail to save democracy

Reacting to the disqualification, Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said, We will fight this battle both legally and politically. We are not going to be afraid or silent. Instead of the JPC, Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified in the Adani scam related to the Prime Minister. Indian Democracy Om Shanti.

Gandhi, 52, a scion of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, was convicted on Thursday for a 2019 speech in which he referred to thieves as having the surname Modi. He had commented, "how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname" during an election rally in Karnataka.

A court in Surat sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail in a defamation case on Thursday. However, he was granted bail immediately and the sentence was suspended for a month.

Congress members held protests in some parts of the country on Friday against Gandhi's conviction and two-year-old jail sentence. They have described the judgment as politically motivated and blamed the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

What experts had said?

Earlier, several experts had cited that Gandhi will not be disqualified as a member of parliament if the appellate court suspends the conviction and two-year jail term awarded to him by a Surat court. They had cited Lily Thomas and the Lok Prahari case while justifying Rahul Gandhi's defence.

Constitutional law expert Rakesh Dwivedi said the suspension of sentence and stay of conviction were necessary to escape disqualification as a lawmaker under the Representation of the People (RP) Act.

"The appellate court can suspend the conviction and the sentence and grant him bail. In that case there will be no disqualification," he said, adding "However the politicians must choose their words carefully to avoid getting entangled with law."

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Updated: 24 Mar 2023, 03:54 PM IST
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