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Modi remark defamation case: Here’s why Rahul Gandhi can not contest elections for the next eight years

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The Gujarat High Court on Friday dismissed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s plea seeking a stay on his conviction in the ‘Modi surname’ defamation case.

The bench of Justice Hemant M Prachchhak called the trial court’s conviction proper and said, “There is no need to interfere with the said order. Therefore, the application is dismissed.”

The court noted that Rahul Gandhi has at least 10 criminal cases pending against him and even after the present case, some more cases have been filed against the leader. One such case has been filed by the grandson of Veer Savarkar, said the court while announcing the order.

On the back of this judgment, Gandhi has also been barred from running for election for six years after the end of the two-year jail term.

Rahul Gandhi currently stands disqualified from the Parliament due to the judgment. However, the case goes back to 2019.

Here’s what the case is all about:

In 2019, Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a Lok Sabha-campaign rally in Karnataka’s Kolar. The leader had said, “How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?”

On this ground, BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi filed a criminal defamation case against the Congress leader claiming that his remark defamed the entire Modi community. Meanwhile, Gandhi clarified that he did not have any malicious intent to defame any community when he made the statement in question.

The issue then reached the session’s court based on a standard procedure followed in all criminal defamation cases. The lower court sentenced the Congress leader to two years in jail on March 23 under sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Following the standard protocol, Gandhi then moved Surat’s session court seeking a stay on conviction in the case. However, the court rejected his plea on April 20, 2023.

In his judgement, Additional Sessions Judge Robin P Mogera cited Rahul Gandhi’s stature as an MP and former chief of the country’s second-largest political party and said he should have been more careful.

He cited prima facie evidence and observations of the trial court and said it transpires that Gandhi made certain derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi apart from comparing people with the same surname with thieves. Judge Mogera said the surname of the complainant in the case, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Purnesh Modi, is also Modi. “…the complainant is [also an] ex-minister and involved in public life. Such defamatory remarks would have certainly harmed his reputation and caused him pain and agony in society,” ANI quoted him as saying.

He cited the disqualification criteria under the Representation of the People Act and added that removal or disqualification as MP could not be termed irreversible or irreparable loss or damage to Gandhi.

On April 25, 2023, Gandhi moved Gujarat High Court challenging the session court’s judgment. Earlier in May this year, Gujarat HC reserved its order on Rahul Gandhi’s plea.

Following his conviction by a lower court in the criminal defamation case, Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as Lok Sabha MP. He was elected to Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala.

source by : the economic times

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