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‘Rahul Gandhi to be MP again, no arrest and can content polls’: SC rescues in ‘Modi’ surname defamation case

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The Supreme Court has granted a stay on the conviction of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case, related to his remarks on the ‘Modi’ surname. As a result, Rahul Gandhi’s status as a Member of Parliament, which was revoked due to his conviction, has been reinstated, allowing him to participate in elections once again.

On March 23, a Surat court found Rahul Gandhi guilty in a defamation case and handed him a two-year sentence. Subsequently, on the following day, he was disqualified as a Member of Parliament (MP) from the Lok Sabha. He had been representing the Wayanad constituency in Kerala.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices BR Gavai, PS Narasimha, and Sanjay Kumar, remarked that the Surat court did not provide any justification for imposing the maximum sentence on Rahul Gandhi in the defamation case. Due to the absence of a reasoning behind the severe sentence, the Supreme Court ordered a stay on the conviction until a final decision is reached through proper adjudication.

It also said that the “ramifications of the trial court’s order were broad”, noting that Gandhi’s right to continue in public life was affected by the order along with the people who elected him.

However, the Supreme Court acknowledged that Rahul Gandhi’s remarks were not considered appropriate, stating that a person holding a position in public life should exercise discretion and be cautious while making public speeches. The court was specifically referring to his statement, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?”, which he made during an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka, in April 2019.

The Congress party expressed its appreciation for the Supreme Court’s decision, hailing it as a restoration of the public’s faith in the judiciary, democracy, constitutional principles, and the belief that truth ultimately triumphs.

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury revealed that he had a meeting with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, urging him to promptly reinstate Rahul Gandhi’s status as a Member of Parliament. This reinstatement would enable Rahul Gandhi’s participation in the no-confidence motion proceedings scheduled for August 8 and 10.

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