Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday declined the Supreme Court’s suggestion that he express regret to close a defamation case against him by an RSS activist.
RSS activist Rajesh Kunte has filed the lawsuit, alleging that the Congress leader had blamed the Hindu outfit for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra asked Gandhi’s lawyer, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, that the Congress leader should express regret so that the case could be closed. According to the court, the suggestion was made by Kunte that Gandhi “should show an impression of regret, then only he would settle this”.
Justice Misra said: “I think, this can be ended in a decent way and get the defamation case buried.”
Sibal rejected the suggestion, arguing that the complaint was “motivated” and “malafide”.
The bench then decided to continue interim stay of criminal proceedings against Gandhi in the case, which is pending before a magisterial court in Thane district of Maharashtra.
It asked Kunte to file his response within four weeks.
The bench has already reserved its verdict on 27 pleas filed by different people, including Gandhi, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, challenging the constitutional validity of penal laws on criminal defamation.
The court remarked that if it allowed all the pleas, no such defamation case would survive.