Rahul Gandhi loses big time in court: Here’s what happened


The Gujarat High Court on Friday denied the plea of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to stay the conviction and two-year jail sentence imposed on him for a criminal defamation case linked to his remarks on the ‘Modi’ surname.

The single-judge Justice Hemant Prachchhak stated that the conviction order was just and legal and there was no need to alter it.

The Gujarat High Court emphasized that defamation was a serious offence, affecting the fundamental right to reputation and dignity of a large public. This assertion was based on the Supreme Court’s judgement in the case Subramanian Swamy Vs. Union of India.

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The court determined that the offence under Section 499 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code was a substantial offence when a large number of individuals in society have been defamed, such as in this case.

It also underlined that the alleged defamation was against a significant identifiable group (people with Modi surname), not just a single individual. This judgement made the defamation case one that affects the larger public and society, not merely a single person.

Gujarat High Court refuses to stay Rahul Gandhi's conviction in the Modi surname case

Gujarat High Court refuses to stay Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in the Modi surname case. Photo courtesy of Sidheeq/Wikimedia Commons.

The court pointed out that Rahul Gandhi, being a senior leader of a major political party in India, holds a prominent place in the Indian political landscape. Therefore, any comments made by him can attract widespread attention and can severely harm the reputation of the complainant and the identifiable class in question.

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Furthermore, the court stressed that staying a conviction is an exception, not the rule, and should only be invoked in rare cases. In this context, the court claimed that Rahul Gandhi, currently a disqualified member of parliament (MP) was seeking a stay on non-existent grounds. The judgement highlighted that disqualification was not only limited to Members of Parliament or Members of Legislative Assembly.

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Adding to Rahul Gandhi’s legal troubles, the court revealed that ten more criminal cases are currently pending against him. One of the complaints was filed by the grandson of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar for Rahul Gandhi’s alleged derogatory remarks against Veer Savarkar at Cambridge.

In light of these factors, the court concluded that refusing to stay the conviction wouldn’t cause injustice to Rahul Gandhi and there was no reasonable ground to stay the conviction. However, it requested the District Judge to decide the criminal appeal as quickly as possible based on its own merits and in accordance with the law.

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