‘Not a rape or murder…’: Rahul Gandhi's lawyer to SC in ‘Modi surname’ case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

‘Not a rape or murder…’: Rahul Gandhi's lawyer to Supreme Court in ‘Modi surname’ case; Jethmalani responds

Aug 04, 2023 01:33 PM IST

Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued Rahul Gandhi's comments on the “Modi surname” were not an offence against society.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Rahul Gandhi in the Supreme Court, argued on Friday the former Congress president's comments on the “Modi surname” were not an offence against society, news agency ANI reported.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (File Photo)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (File Photo)

“The judge treats this as a serious offence involving a moral turpitude. This is a non-cognisable, bailable, and compoundable offence. The offence was not against society, not kidnapping, rape, or murder. How can this become an offence involving moral turpitude?” Singhvi argued.

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“In the democracy, we have dissent, in democracy we have disagreement. What we call ‘shaleen bhasha’. Gandhi is not a hardened criminal. There are many cases filed by BJP workers, but there was never any conviction. Gandhi has already missed two sessions of the Parliament,” Singhvi added.

Responding Singhvi's arguments, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for complainant Purnesh Modi, said that the entire speech spanned more than 50 minutes and there is a plethora of evidence and clipping of the speech attached in the Election Commission of India’s record.

Jethmalani said that Gandhi has defamed an entire class out of malice. On this, the Supreme Court asked Jethmalani about how many politicians would remember what they speak during 10-15 gatherings in a day.

The Supreme Court was hearing the plea filed by Gandhi against the Gujarat high court's verdict that declined to put on hold his conviction in a defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark that cost him his Lok Sabha membership.

The Supreme Court said it wanted to know why the maximum sentence was given to Gandhi. “Had the judge given a sentence of 1 year and 11 months, then he (Rahul Gandhi) would not have been disqualified,” observed the Supreme Court.

In the last hearing in the apex court, a bench of Justices BR Gavai and PK Mishra had sought responses from former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi and the state government on Gandhi's appeal challenging the high court verdict and listed the matter for further hearing on August 4.

Purnesh Modi had filed a criminal defamation case 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.

“The limited question at this stage is whether the conviction deserves to be stayed,” the bench had observed.

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