Rahul Gandhi moves SC challenging Gujarat HC order to not put stay on conviction
The Gujarat High Court had refused to stay Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in the Modi surname criminal defamation case
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has filed a plea before the Supreme Court against the Gujarat High Court's verdict denying to put a stay on his conviction in the ‘Modi surname' defamation case.
The Gujarat High Court had refused to stay Rahul Gandhi's conviction and two-year jail term in a criminal defamation case, which cost the Congress leader his Lok Sabha membership. A bench of Justice Hemant Prachchhak had observed that granting a stay on his conviction would be an exception, and not a rule.
Congress leader and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi had termed the high court judgement as "disappointing but not unexpected", and indicated that the former Congress President will approach the Supreme Court.
Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Member of Parliament in March, after a Surat court convicted him and sentenced him to two years in prison for his "How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname" remark made during an election rally in Karnataka in April 2019.
In anticipation, Purnesh Modi, a BJP MLA and the complainant in the defamation case against Gandhi, had submitted a caveat in the Supreme Court requesting for a chance to present his case if the Congress leader challenges the high court verdict.
A caveat serves as a notice submitted to an appellate court by a litigant who wishes to be heard in case any orders are issued regarding an opponent's appeal that challenges the decision or judgment made by the lower court.
Rahul Gandhi's 2019 remark was interpreted as an attempt to draw an implicit connection between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi.
In March, the sessions court in Surat had dismissed Rahul Gandhi's plea seeking suspension of his conviction by the magistrate court, stating that his disqualification will not result in an irreversible loss to him.
According to legal experts, if the top court stays Rahul Gandhi's conviction, it would be sufficient to restore his Lok Sabha membership. The Congress leader was disqualified under a rule that bars convicted MPs from holding Lok Sabha membership.