High Court refuses interim protection to Rahul Gandhi in Modi surname case

May 02, 2023 04:41 PM IST

Rahul Gandhi, in the Gujarat high court, was represented by Abhishek Singhvi who argued that not staying the conviction will have irreversible consequences.

The Gujarat high court on Tuesday refused to give any interim protection to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the Modi surname case as it reserved the verdict on his plea for a stay on his conviction in the 2019 case which cost him his Parliament membership. A lower court convicted Rahul Gandhi on March 23 for his 2019 comment 'how come all thieves have Modi surname in common'. Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years imprisonment which disqualified him as an MP. Rahul Gandhi approached a higher court which upheld the lower court's verdict following which Rahul Gandhi approached the high court.

High Court refuses interim protection to Rahul Gandhi in Modi surname case(Congress Twitter)
High Court refuses interim protection to Rahul Gandhi in Modi surname case(Congress Twitter)

In the high court, Rahul Gandhi was represented by Abhishek Singhvi who contested that the offence for which Rahul Gandhi has been awarded the maximum sentence of two years was not serious and it did not involve any "moral turpitude" but the consequences of denying a stay on the verdict will be irreversible.

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"In the case of a public servant or a legislator, it has very serious additional irreversible consequences - to the person, the constituency, and also drastic consequences of re-election," Singhvi said referring to a possible bypoll in Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.

"When you say all Modi are thieves, is it not moral turpitude? What message are you giving to the world? That an opposition leader of India brands his Prime Minister as a thief before thousands of people?" advocate Nirupam Nanavaty appearing for the complainant, BJP's Purnesh Modi, countered.

"An elected person loses the right to be a representative of the people, which is irreversible. He will lose the next session, meetings, etc. There is a loss to him, he loses the right to represent the voice of people. The people of the constituency lose their voice. The entire right of collectivity 'we the people' is lost. There will be a loss of public exchequer," Singhvi presented his case during Tuesday's hearing.

While the court refused to provide any interim protection to Rahul Gandhi, the verdict has been reserved. Justice Hemant Prachchhak concluded the hearing before he goes out of India on May 5. The verdict will come out after the vacation.

Rahul Gandhi's conviction, followed by his disqualification as an MP has brought the opposition parties together against what they call 'BJP's vendetta politics'. Congress alleged that the case was pursued soon after Rahul Gandhi's Lok Sabha speech in which he questioned the relationship between PM Modi and Adani.

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