Congress leader and former MP Rahul Gandhi has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Gujarat High Court’s July 7 order dismissing his review plea against his conviction in a criminal defamation case in the ‘Modi thief’ comment case.
A criminal defamation case was filed for a comment Gandhi made during the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign. Referring to figures like Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi, Gandhi asked “Why do all thieves have the same designation?”
BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi filed a criminal defamation case against Gandhi, alleging that Gandhi’s comments defamed the entire Modi community.
Gandhi maintains that there was no ill intention on his part when he made the statement in question.
On March 23, 2023, the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Surat convicted Gandhi and sentenced him to 2 years in prison, after which he was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha. However, his sentence was suspended, and he was also granted bail on the same day to enable him to appeal his conviction within 30 days.
On 3 April, Gandhi pleaded guilty in the Surat Sessions Court and sought a stay on his conviction, which was rejected on 20 April. However, on 3 April the Surat Sessions Court granted Gandhi bail pending disposal of his appeal.
Dismissing Gandhi’s review petition, the Gujarat High Court observed that the case against Gandhi was not just an individual, but related to a large identifiable class (the Modi community).
The court added that being a senior leader of India’s oldest political party and “a prominent figure in the Indian political landscape”, Gandhi was tasked with ensuring the dignity and reputation of a large number of individuals or any identifiable class was not “endangered” by his political actions or statements. .