Court rejects Rahul Gandhi’s petition to suspend conviction | Mint
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Business News/ Politics / News/  Court rejects Rahul Gandhi’s petition to suspend conviction
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Court rejects Rahul Gandhi’s petition to suspend conviction

Congress party to challenge decision, calls it unsustainable and erroneous

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (ANI)Premium
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (ANI)

AHMEDABAD : A Surat sessions court on Thursday rejected Congress leader Rahul Gandh’s plea to suspend his conviction in a criminal defamation case for comments made four years ago on the Modi surname, dealing a blow to his hopes of quickly reversing his disqualification as a Member of Parliament (MP).

Additional sessions judge Robin P Mogera cited Gandhi’s stature as an MP and former chief of the country’s second-largest political party, and said he should have been more careful in his comments. He cited prima facie evidence and observations of the trial court and said it appeared Gandhi made certain derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi apart from comparing the people with the same surname with thieves.

“...the appellant was not an ordinary person and was sitting MP, connected with public life. Any word spoken by appellant would have large impact in mind of common public...Moreover, high standard of morality is expected from a person like appellant and the learned trial court had inflicted sentence which was permissible in law," said the 27-page judgment. “I am of the opinion that the appellant has not made out any case to suspend the conviction recorded against him," the judge added.

The Congress called the decision unsustainable and erroneous. “The conviction has been upheld contrary to all basic elementary principles of law...let me assure you that the judgement will be challenged in accordance with law in the very near future," senior leader Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in Delhi.

On 23 March, a Surat court convicted Gandhi for criminal defamation and sentenced him to two years in prison for a remark he made ahead of the 2019 national polls about the Modi surname. Under the law, the conviction and two-year jail term rendered Gandhi unfit to enter either House of Parliament for a period of eight years.

In 2019 at a rally in Karnataka, Gandhi asked the crowd, “How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?" referring to fugitives Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi, and targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Published: 21 Apr 2023, 12:19 AM IST
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