Supreme Court stays Rahul Gandhi's conviction in defamation case: Here's what next
This conviction had previously resulted in his disqualification as a sitting Lok Sabha member of Parliament.
In a big relief for Rahul Gandhi, the Supreme Court has granted a stay on the conviction of Congress leader in a defamation case. This conviction had previously resulted in his disqualification as a sitting Lok Sabha member of Parliament and raised doubts about his eligibility to contest in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The apex court's decision comes pending the final adjudication of Rahul Gandhi's appeal before the court. Notably, the court observed that the trial court had failed to provide adequate reasoning for imposing the maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment on the Congress leader.
Rahul Gandhi, in his plea to the top court, argued that the complainant in the defamation case, Purnesh Modi, is not related to the Modi family and belongs to the Modh Vanika Samaj community. Also read | Rahul Gandhi's 'Modi surname' case timeline
SC stays Rahul Gandhi's conviction in defamation case | What it means for the Congress leader
- Rahul Gandhi is entitled to return to Parliament from Monday. However, his reinstatement is subject to the issuance of a formal notice by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
- The notice will say that his suspension from the Lok Sabha has been removed following the Supreme court decision.
- The Lok Sabha Secretariat has announced that it will consider revoking the suspension of Gandhi only upon receiving a copy of the Supreme Court order. A senior official from the Lok Sabha revealed that the order, once received, will undergo careful examination before a final decision is taken.
- Congress leader can now contest polls freely. Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad seat from Kerala has remained vacant post his disqualification as Lok Sabha Member of Parliament in March 2023.
- Rahul Gandhi's membership of Parliament has been fully restored. Earlier, on March 23, 2023, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had cancelled Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi's membership following his conviction and sentencing by a local court in Surat.
Rahul Gandhi defamation case
On March 23, a Gujarat magisterial court convicted Gandhi for his remarks on the Modi surname after Purnesh Modi filed a criminal complaint. The Congress leader was sentenced to two-year imprisonment, which disqualified him as an MP from Kerala’s Wayanad under the Representation of People Act on March 24, following a notification from the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
Gandhi approached the sessions court, which rejected his plea for a stay on his conviction on April 20, compelling him to approach the high court.
The April 20 order cited 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 in his comments.