New Delhi: Congress’s Rahul Gandhi moved the Supreme Court challenging the Gujarat High Court’s dismissal of a plea seeking a stay on his conviction in a 2019 defamation case.
News agency PTI reported that Gandhi filed the petition today on July 15 through advocate-on-record Prasanna S.
Gandhi’s conviction in the case meant that he was disqualified as a Member of Parliament – he represented the Wanad constituency in the Lok Sabha – under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
The Gujarat High Court on July 7 refused to stay Gandhi’s conviction and two-year sentence. An adjournment would mean reinstating Gandhi to Parliament before the Monsoon Session.
Justice Hemant Prachak said, “At least 10 criminal cases are pending against him. Apart from the present case, there are several other cases against him. One such case was filed by Vir Savarkar’s grandson. However, the conviction will result in no injustice. The conviction is just and correct. There is no need to interfere with the said order.”
The judge, PTI reported, said it was not an “individual-centric defamation case” but something that affected “a large section of society”.
On 23 March, a Surat court convicted Gandhi in a criminal defamation case based on a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Purnesh Modi and sentenced him to two years in prison.
Several cases were filed by BJP leaders against Gandhi’s 2019 pre-election campaign speech in Kolar, Karnataka. To this Gandhi said: “I have a question. Why all these thieves have Modi in their name, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi or Narendra Modi? We don’t know how many more Modis like this will come out.”
Purnesh Modi alleged that it was defamatory of ‘Modi’ designation.
On 3 April, Gandhi approached a sessions court seeking a stay on his conviction. It was rejected on 20 April.
The Surat Sessions Court suspended Gandhi’s two-year sentence on April 3. He also got bail.
On May 2, while hearing Gandhi’s plea seeking a stay on his conviction, the High Court refused to grant any relief.