The Supreme Court stayed on Thursday the proceedings against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in a criminal defamataion case before a trial court in Maharashtra for allegedly blaming RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
"There shall be stay of further proceedings in a case pending before the trial court till the next date of hearing," a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant said.
The case against Gandhi is pending before a magisterial court in Bhiwandi in Thane district of Maharashtra.
The apex court also issued notices to the Centre and an RSS activist who had filed the complaint seeking their reply within four weeks and posted the matter for hearing on July 8.
The bench tagged Rahul's petition in which he has also challenged the constitutional validity of the panel provisions dealing with criminal defamation along with that of politicians of rival parities, BJP's Subramanian Swamy and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
All of them have challenged the constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 of IPC, which deal with defamation.
The bench made it clear that it will not go into the merits of any of the defamation cases filed against these persons and only examine the legality of the penal provisions.
"We are not going to touch upon the merits of these cases. We are not going to address merits in these cases. We are only on the constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 of IPC," the bench said.