In a relief for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday exempted him from personal appearance before a magistrate court in Bhiwandi, where an office-bearer of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has filed a case of defamation against him.
In his complaint before a local magistrate court, Rajesh Kunte, the secretary of Bhiwandi tehsil unit of RSS, has alleged that Gandhi made false, frivolous and baseless allegations, imputations against the RSS and its members during an election rally at Sonale near Bhiwandi, on March 6, 2014. Acting on his complaint, the magistrate court on July 11, 2014, summoned Gandhi to face the trial.
Gandhi sought quashing of the complaint, contending it was entirely based on the opinion of the complainant and was not supported by any material.
“[In the speech], it was suggested the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi were associated or affiliated with RSS, and he never accused the RSS of being an institution of crime,” the petition filed by Gandhi states.
Gandhi has also referred to the statement of Nathuram Godse, who killed the father of the nation, given to the trial court, stating he had left RSS long before the incident.
Justice ML Tahaliyani granted the relief to Gandhi, who approached the high court seeking quashing of the complaint lodged by Kunte. Assistant public prosecutor VB Konde-Deshmukh confirmed the court has exempted Gandhi from personal appearance.