Home/ News / India/  Rahul Gandhi to file appeal in Gujarat court tomorrow against conviction in defamation case

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will on Monday file an appeal before a court in Surat in Gujarat against his conviction in a criminal defamation case. Gandhi is likely to remain present in the sessions court when the plea will be filed challenging the lower court's order sentencing him to two years in jail, sources said on Sunday. "A petition challenging the lower court order will be filed in the sessions court of Surat on Monday, with Rahul Gandhi remaining present," a member of his legal team said requesting anonymity.

Senior state and national leaders of the Congress will accompany him to Surat, sources said. The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma here had on March 23 convicted Gandhi and sentenced him to two years in jail in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his “Modi surname" remarks.

It had held 52-year-old Rahul Gandhi guilty under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500. The court had also granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to appeal in a higher court. Gandhi was on March 24 disqualified from the Lok Sabha following his conviction by the Surat court in the criminal defamation case.

Sources said the 168-page judgement of the Surat court against Gandhi has been translated by experts and the petition is ready for filing, but his legal team is taking an "abundantly cautious approach" keeping in view its repercussions that it could have on the two other similar cases filed in Patna and Ranchi courts on the same grounds.

The sources also said that Gandhi's legal team handling the case has 30 days (from March 23) to file an appeal before the sessions court.

But they are prepared to go to the next level, sources in the party said, noting that Gandhi stands disqualified as he has taken on Prime Minister Narendra Modi "consistently and directly" ever since the 2016 demonetisation, followed by GST bill and privatisation, with the latest attack being on his relationship with businessman Gautam Adani.

Rahul Gandhi was convicted and was given a two-year sentence in the 2019 defamation case over his remarks on Modi surname, following which he was disqualified as member of Lok Sabha.

The Congress has said it will fight the matter both politically and legally and will take the issue to the public.

Sources in the party feel that Gandhi's disqualification has helped bring unity among the opposition ranks with its first consequence being 19 opposition parties now displaying rare unity against the BJP against only a handful earlier.

A major meeting of senior leaders of these opposition parties is likely to be steered by the Congress in the next three or four weeks, the sources added.

They also feel that the BJP is out to embarrass Gandhi in a telling and dramatic way due to the success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

The party also feels that Gandhi will get public sympathy following his disqualification, even as they asserted that the ideological moorings within the party have sharpened in the last few months.

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Updated: 02 Apr 2023, 01:06 PM IST
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