On April 29, Gujarat high court posted Rahul Gandhi’s plea challenging the Surat court order declining a stay to his conviction in a criminal defamation case for a final hearing on May 2.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the senior lawyer told the Gujarat high court that “very serious ex-facie vitiating factors” about the trial’s process lead to the conviction of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a criminal defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark. Earlier, the lawyer had also argued in favour of Gandhi.
Hemant Prachchhak, Justice of the High Court challenged the April 20 order of the sessions court by taking up the criminal revision application that was filed by Rahul Gandhi.
High Court Justice Gita Gopi recused herself from hearing the case on Wednesday after it was brought before her for an urgent hearing. This matter was then assigned to the court of Justice Prachchhak.
“There are very serious ex-facie vitiating factors of the trial that raise grave apprehension about the process of trial which led to the conviction. In the case of a public servant or a legislator, it has very serious additional irreversible consequences – to the person, the constituency, and also drastic consequences of re-election,” Mr Singhvi said by arguing in the High Court.
A metropolitan magistrate’s court in Surat on March 23 sentenced the former Congress president to two years in jail after convicting him under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) in a 2019 case filed by Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Gujarat MLA Purnesh Modi.
Mr Gandhi was elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala in 2019 following the verdict. He was disqualified as an MP under the provisions of the Representation of the Peoples Act.
Reason for Rahul Gandhi’s Conviction
Purnesh Modi had filed a criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi over his remark during an election rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019, where he said, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?”
The comments made by him were deemed to be insulting to the nation’s leader, Modi, and other citizens surnamed Modi. The 52-year-old leader lost his parliamentary seat in March after being convicted and sentenced to two years in jail for commenting on Modi and his people.
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