Rahul Gandhi disqualified as Lok Sabha member. Here's what the notification says
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was found guilty for a 2019 speech in which he referred to thieves as having the surname Modi.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a member of Parliament on Friday, a day after he was found guilty in a defamation case by a lower court. The disqualification of Rahul Gandhi, the former Congress president, is seen as one of the highest profile disqualifications of a sitting lawmaker in the country.
Gandhi "stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha", a parliament notice said, from his date of conviction.
Here's what the notice from Lok Sabha Secretariat says:
“Consequent upon his conviction by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat in C.C./18712/2019, Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction i.e. 23 March, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.”
An elected representative sentenced for any offence for two years or more faces immediate disqualification under the Representation of People Act, 1951.
The lower court in Surat granted Gandhi bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court. He can now only escape disqualification as a Lok Sabha member if the appellate court suspends the conviction as well as the two-year jail term.
The Congress party, meanwhile, has said it will “fight this battle both legally and politically.”
Rahul Gandhi has also received support from unlikely quarters in Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
“In PM Modi’s New India, Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP! While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, Opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches,” Banerjee said in a tweet minutes after the notification was issued. “Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy.”