Will Rahul lose his MP and be banned from contesting elections?
Court held guilty in defamation case
Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Verma, who held Rahul guilty of criminal defamation under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC, granted him bail against a surety of Rs 15,000 and suspended the sentence for 30 days, so that he may appear before the High Court. May be allowed to appeal. Sources said that legal experts have advised Rahul to appeal against the district court’s decision in a higher court.
Rahul’s parliament membership may go
Actually, the relief from the court is not enough to avoid the provision of disqualification in the Representation of the People Act. Experts say that according to this law, as soon as a member of Parliament or State Legislature is convicted of an offense and sentenced to two years or more, that member can be disqualified from membership of the House. Along with this, he may also be barred from contesting elections. In such a situation, if the High Court does not reverse the decision of the District Court, then Rahul’s membership in the Parliament can be removed.
What did the court say?
While hearing the matter, the court observed that if the period of punishment is to be fixed keeping in view the gravity of the offense of defamation and not the disqualification of the elected representative. If the accused is given a lesser punishment, it sends a wrong message to the public and defeats the purpose of defamation. Anyone will defame anyone without any hesitation. The court also referred to the Supreme Court’s warning regarding Rahul’s earlier statement, when in 2019, during the election campaign, Rahul ran the ‘chowkidar chor hai’ campaign.
BJP MLA had filed a defamation case
The defamation case against Rahul Gandhi was filed by Purnesh Modi, who is also the BJP MLA from Surat West. He had said in his complaint filed in 2019 that Rahul had insulted crores of people with his statement. Rahul’s lawyer Kirit Panwala pleaded for a lighter sentence on the ground that his client did not intend to insult anyone. He told the court, “The complainant has not suffered any kind of pain or harm, and the accused has never been convicted of any offense in the past and has not sought any mercy or apology from anyone.”
‘Deliberately made such a statement’
While convicting Rahul, the court said that he could have limited his speech to PM Narendra Modi, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Anil Ambani, but he “deliberately” made a statement that would make people with Modi surname Got hurt The court said that this amounts to criminal defamation. In its order, the court said that any speech delivered by the accused being a Member of Parliament would have an impact on the public. The court said that the former Congress president knew that he would benefit from his controversial remarks.
Quoted from the Supreme Court
The court rejected Rahul’s defense that the electronic evidence produced by the complainant in the form of pen drives and CDs could have been tampered with. It cited Supreme Court directions given to Rahul in the past, advising him to be cautious after apologizing for the ‘chowkidar chor hai’ dig. “Despite the Supreme Court warning the accused, there has been no change in his conduct,” the court said.
If Rahul Gandhi had not torn that ordinance of 2013, then there would have been no opportunity to go to Parliament today.
After being convicted, Rahul told the court that he had given the speech in Kolar in public interest. The CJM rejected his plea. Ahead of the hearing, the court complex was fortified with heavy security deployment in anticipation of protests by Congress workers. Rahul reached around 10.50. Soon after the verdict, he left for lunch at a Gujarati thali restaurant before boarding a flight to Delhi.
Reacting to the judgement, Purnesh Modi said, ‘The comment defames Modi and the telli samaj which runs into crores across the country. That’s why I complained. I welcome the decision. On the other hand, Amit Chavda of Gujarat Congress said, ‘We are Congressmen, we did not bow down before and will not bow down now. Truth can be harassed, not defeated. Truth always chooses struggle.’