The Curious Case of Rahul Gandhi “Modi Defamation”

rahul gandhi defamation case

Rahul Gandhi, the head of the Congress Party, appealed a Gujarat High Court order that sustained a Magistrate Court judgment convicting him of criminal defamation today before a two-judge bench made up of Justices B. R. Gavai and P. K. Mishra.

source : Wikipedia

The Occurrence

Before the 17th Lok Sabha General Elections, this drama begins in 2019. In a public speech on April 13 in Kolar, Karnataka, Rahul Gandhi said, “In sab choron ke naam Modi, Modi, Modi, Kyun hai? Narendra Modi, Lalit Modi, and Nirav Modi” (Why do all these fraudsters go by the last name Modi? Lalit, Nirav, and Narendra Modi). His exclusion from the Lok Sabha four years later, in March 2023, was the result of numerous criminal defamation petitions that were sparked by these remarks.

Magistrate Court Affair

Purnesh Modi, a BJP lawmaker from Surat, filed a criminal defamation action against Rahul Gandhi on April 16 under Sections 499, 500, and 504 of the Indian Penal Code (1860). He stated that the entire Modi community was defamed by Rahul Gandhi’s comments. The complaint was registered in May 2019 at the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Surat.

Mr. Rahul Gandhi insisted that his remarks had nothing to do with any particular community and were only focused on corruption.

Rahul Gandhi was found guilty by the Magistrate Court on March 23, 2023. He was found guilty of criminal defamation and given a two-year prison term. The Court did him bail, suspended his sentence, and permitted him to file an appeal with the High Court.

Disqualification from the Lok Sabha

He was immediately removed from the House of Representatives after being found guilty. On March 24, 2023, the Lok Sabha Secretariat released a notification advising various organizations including the Election Commission of India about the disqualification.

According to the notification, he was ineligible in compliance with Article 102 (1)(e) of the Indian Constitution and Section 8 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 (RPA).  Members of Parliament may be removed from office “on conviction for certain offences” that carry sentences of two years or longer, according to Section 8 of the RPA. A member of Parliament may be disqualified in line with any national law, according to Article 102(1)(e).

Gujarat High Court appeals

In an appeal to the Gujarat High Court, Mr. Rahul Gandhi requested a stay of the Magistrate Court’s judgment. Senior Attorney Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued on behalf of Mr. Rahul Gandhi that the conviction violated the right to free speech, was disproportionate, and caused trouble for residents of the Wayanad seat, which he represents.

He stated that because he was not the victim in the case, Mr. Purnesh Modi, who brought the criminal defamation case, had a legitimate basis or place to do so.

The Gujarat High Court declined to suspend the conviction on July 7, 2023. In a 125-page ruling, Justice Hemant P Prachchhak stated that Mr. Rahul Gandhi had violated “modesty” and that his deeds showed “moral turpitude.” In addition, he referred to Mr. Rahul Gandhi as a “habitual offender” in light of the numerous defamation cases that are still outstanding against him.

Dr. Singhvi criticized the Gujarat High Court’s ruling in an interview with India Today. He said that the usage of the term “moral turpitude,” which is frequently associated with crimes like rape, kidnapping, and other “immoral” activities, by the High Court was incorrect. He claimed that the choice infringed on the freedom of speech’s fundamental rights.

At the High Court

Mr. Rahul Gandhi moved the High Court against the High Court’s choice declining to remain his preclusion on July 16, 2023. Dr. Singhvi showed up before the Main Equity accordingly and looked for an earnest posting of the case. Without a quick goal, ‘he will lose eight years of his profession ‘ Singvi argued. The RPA (1951) excludes an individual from challenging in races for a considerable length of time after their term in prison.

On July 21, 2023, a divisional Seat involving Judges B.R. Gavai and P.K. Mishra heard the allure. Equity Gavai proposed to recuse himself from the case as his dad and sibling are politically associated with the Congress Party. In any case, Dr. Singhvi and Dr. Mahesh Jethmalani showing up for Purnesh Modi brought up ‘no criticism’ regarding Equity Gavai on the Seat.

The Supreme Court has given notice to the parties in the matter and listed the case for hearing on August 4, 2023. Why is this case important? The Supreme Court will decide whether or not to stay Rahul Gandhi’s conviction for defamation. This judgement will have a huge impact on Rahul Gandhi’s political life in the future. If the judgment is a negative one, Rahul Gandhi will be barred from contesting the next general elections. What is the scope of the judgment? The judgment will also determine the scope of freedom of speech, ideas and expression for Members of Parliament and, in this case, Members of the Opposition in defamation cases.

Previous Article

“Elegance and Empowerment: Embracing the Beauty of Salwar Kameez”

Next Article

Chandrayaan-3: A Giant Leap for India’s Space Ambitions, While Other Fronts Still Stuck in Earth’s Orbit

You might be interested in …

The Complex Reasons Behind the Support for Police Encounters over the Judiciary in India

In recent years, the issue of police encounters over the judiciary has been a matter of increasing concern in India. While there are various reasons behind this trend, such as a lack of faith in the judicial system and media’s role in shaping public perceptions, the issue is highly complex and multi-faceted. Extrajudicial killings are illegal and violate human rights, and there is a risk that encounters can be used to target innocent people or settle personal and political scores. Therefore, it is essential to address the underlying issues in the legal system and work towards strengthening it so that it can deliver justice in a fair, timely, and effective manner. Only by working together can we create a society that is just and equitable for all its citizens.

Leave a Reply