NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the plea of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi challenging the Gujarat High Court order which declined to stay his conviction in the criminal defamation case, in which he was sentenced to two years in jail by Surat court over a ‘Modi surname’ remark.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Rahul Gandhi, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before the Supreme Court, ANI reported.
Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi on behalf of Gandhi, was scheduled for hearing by a bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Mishra. Singhvi requested that the appeal be listed for either July 21 or July 24. The apex court will now hear Gandhi’s plea on July 21.
In his appeal filed on July 15, Gandhi has said that if the judgment is not stayed, it would lead to throttling of free speech, expression, thought, and statement, PTI reported.
He contended that if the high court verdict is not stayed it would contribute to the systematic, repetitive emasculation of democratic institutions and the consequent strangulation of democracy which would be gravely detrimental to the political climate and future of India.
Purnesh Modi, a former minister in the Gujarat government, had filed a criminal defamation case in 2019 against Gandhi over his “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” remark made during an election rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019.
Gujarat High Court’s ruling
In a setback to the 53-year-old Gandhi, the Gujarat High Court dismissed his petition for a stay on conviction on July 7, observing that “purity in politics” was the need of the hour.
A stay on Gandhi’s conviction could have paved the way for his reinstatement as a Lok Sabha MP, but he failed to get any relief from either the sessions court or the Gujarat High Court.
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