Surat court refuses stay on Rahul’s conviction
Surat/New Delhi: Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi was today denied a stay by the Surat Sessions Court on his conviction by a Surat lower court in a case related to criminal defamation during his 2019 election speeches. On April 13, 2023, the court of Additional Sessions Judge RP Mogera reserved its verdict for April 20 on Rahul’s application for a stay on his conviction.
The conviction pertained to Rahul’s disparaging remarks pertaining to the ‘Modi’ surname. The former Congress Party president lost his seat in Parliament a day after his conviction on March 23, 2023. He has, however, managed to secure interim relief to explore all legal options before any formal arrest. Rahul has been slapped with a two-year jail term pending an appeal in a higher court after a Surat lower court’s verdict. There is no immediate possibility of his arrest until he exhausts all legal appeals.
Mogera noted that the complainant in the case, Bharatiya Janata Party’s former state minister Purnesh Modi’s surname was also Modi, and that “… such defamatory remarks would have certainly harmed his reputation and caused him pain and agony in society”.
“…the Appellant [Gandhi] has not made out any case to suspend the conviction recorded against him”, the judge said and ruled, “In this case, by uttering defamatory words viz comparing persons having [the] surname ‘Modi’ with thieves would definitely have caused mental agony and harm the reputation of [the] complainant, who is socially active and dealing in public”.
While Congress Party leaders protested heavily, dubbing it a political vendetta, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s legal cell pointed out that the courts had pursued the due process of law before handing out the verdict.
Congress Party General Secretary in-charge of Communications, Jairam Ramesh tweeted that the decision of the Sessions Court that has come today is “legally wrong. He will be challenged as soon as possible. There are clearly several serious legal mistakes in that”.
However, there’s a Damocles sword hanging over Rahul’s head about his prospects of joining the poll fray for returning as a member of Parliament.
“No matter how hard Narendra Modi and BJP try, they cannot stop Rahul Gandhi from raising his voice for the country,” Deepak Khatri, Congress’s national coordinator for social media and digital platforms, tweeted.
– global bihari bureau