Rahul Gandhi moves Gujarat High Court seeking stay on conviction in criminal defamation case

File Photo of Rahul Gandhi
File Photo of Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Apr 25: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi moved the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday seeking stay on his conviction by a Magistrate court in a criminal defamation case against him [Rahul Gandhi vsPurneshModi].

Gandhi’s counsel TarannumCheema confirmed the development. She said that the appeal was filed before the High Court on Tuesday evening. His appeal would be heard by a single-judge bench in due course.

A sessions court in Surat had, on April 20, dismissed his plea seeking suspension of his conviction by the Magistrate court.

In a detailed order, the sessions court held that Gandhi’s disqualification would not amount to be an irreparable or irreversible loss to him and refused interim relief to him.

The now disqualified parliamentarian from Wayanad, Kerala was convicted by a magistrate court on March 23 for his controversial remark “All thieves have Modi surname.”

Gandhi had, in a political campaign in 2019 in Kolar, Karnataka, linked Prime Minister NarendraModi with fugitives like NiravModi and LalitModi.

He had said, “NiravModi, LalitModi, NarendraModi. How come all the thieves have ‘Modi’ as a common surname?”

PurneshModi, a former BJP Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), took exception to the said speech claiming that Gandhi humiliated and defamed persons with the Modi surname.

The magistrate court in Surat accepted the contention of Modi that by his speech, Gandhi has intentionally insulted the people with a ‘Modi’ surname.

In his 168-page judgment, Judge HadirashVarma said that since Gandhi is a Member of Parliament (MP), whatever he says will have a greater impact. Thus, he should have exercised restraint.

“The accused had taken the reference of the surname of the current Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi, to satisfy his political greed and insulted and defamed 13 crore people living in the whole of India having the surname ‘Modi’” the judge held.

The session judge refused to stay the same leading to the present plea before the High Court.

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