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The Gujarat High Court on Friday declined to overturn Congressman Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and two-year prison sentence in a criminal defamation case stemming from his remark that “All thieves have Modi surname” [Rahul Gandhi v. Purnesh Modi].
Staying a conviction is not a standard practice, according to single-judge Justice Hemant Prachchhak, and it should only be used in exceptional circumstances.
The judge said. that Rahul Gandhi is facing at least 10 active criminal investigations. Even after the current case, he is the target of other lawsuits. People’s representatives ought to maintain their own personalities. One such case was brought by Veer Savarkar’s grandson in a court in Pune because the defendant allegedly used defamatory (sic) language against Veer Savarkar in Cambridge. A Lucknow court also received complaints in another case.
The bench further stated that no cause is made out to stay the conviction in light of the circumstances of the current case.
In no way would the applicant suffer any injustice from a conviction. The conviction order is correct, legitimate, and just. The aforementioned order doesn’t require any interference. As a result, the Court decided to dismiss the application.
On April 20, a sessions court in Surat rejected Gandhi’s request for the Magistrate court to suspend his conviction.
Gandhi was denied interim relief after the sessions court determined in a thorough order that his disqualification would not amount to an irreparable or an irreversible damage to him.
On March 23, a Surat Magistrate court found the now-disqualified Wayanad, Kerala, lawmaker guilty of making the statement “all thieves have Modi surname” during a campaign rally for the Kolar constituency of Karnataka in 2019.
Gandhi had compared fugitive criminals such as Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi to PM Narendra Modi in his speech.
He’d stated that Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, and Narendra Modi. Why was ‘Modi’ such a common last name among thieves?
Purnesh Modi, a former BJP legislator, complained about the speech, claiming Gandhi had denigrated and disparaged people with the last name Modi.
The Surat magistrate court upheld Modi’s assertion that Gandhi had deliberately disparaged people with the last name “Modi” in his speech.
Rahul Gandhi is a member of parliament, so anything he says will have more weight, the judge ruled in his 168-page ruling. As a result, the Magistrate decided that he should have used restraint.
The judgement ruled that the defendants “had taken the reference of the last name of the present Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, to fulfil his political greed, and disrespected and defamed 13 crore individuals living in the entire India having the surname ‘Modi’.”
The Magistrate court conviction was upheld after the sessions judge declined to grant a stay, resulting in the current High Court appeal.
Gandhi’s conviction in the case caused him to be disqualified from the Lok Sabha. As a result of the Gujarat High Court’s judgement from today, the disqualification would persist.
Rahul Gandhi to Challenge the decision in Supreme Court
The Congress party announced on Friday that Mr. Gandhi would file a Supreme Court appeal challenging the ruling.
The arrest of Mr. Gandhi has been postponed until he has used all legal remedies.
The Congress leader is perceived to have suffered from Friday’s verdict because it prevents him from contesting in the upcoming national elections.
The Gujarat HC declared Mr. Gandhi’s conviction to be “just and proper” while rejecting his appeal.
Later in the day, party leader and attorney Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the lawsuit was “an issue of free speech and expression” in remarks to a press conference.
He said that members of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had made these allegations.
He declared that the government’s goal is to restrict freedom of expression. For this reason, the Defamation Act has been abused.
The party’s leader, Mallikarjun Kharge, claimed that Mr. Gandhi was “fighting for truth” and would continue the fight.