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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

‘Better sense prevailed’: SC lets off Rahul Gandhi in Rafale contempt case

Rahul Gandhi, the former Congress president, had filed three affidavits in the court in the contempt case filed against him by BJP Lok Sabha member Meenakshi Lekhi for incorrectly attributing his political slogan “chowkidar chor hai” to the judges.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2019 12:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi(PTI)
         

Rahul Gandhi, who had run into trouble over remarks that attributed his political slogan over the Rafale deal to the judges, was let off by the Supreme Court on Thursday that decided to close a contempt case filed against the Congress leader.

A bench of the top court, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, said Rahul Gandhi should have been careful with his remarks and his remarks were far from true.

“In view of the better sense that has prevailed, we do not proceed. Contemnor [Rahul Gandhi] should be more careful in future,” the court said.

The Supreme Court said it was unfortunate that Rahul Gandhi made remarks against the Prime Minister “without any verification”, news agency PTI reported.

“[Rahul] Gandhi enjoys an important position in political spectrum and no court should be dragged to political discourse, whether valid or invalid,”the court said.

BJP Lok Sabha member Meenakshi Lekhi had filed the contempt plea against Gandhi for incorrectly attributing his political slogan “chowkidar chor hai” to the judges.

Lekhi, in her petition, had alleged that Gandhi had twisted the Supreme Court’s April 10 judgment to claim that the court declared Prime Minister Narendra Modi guilty of corrupt practices in purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft.

In an affidavit filed in the court, Gandhi had expressed regret over his comments and said they were made in the heat of the campaign for the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

Gandhi had to a file a fresh petition after the petition after the top court wasn’t convinced that his earlier affidavit expressed regret. “You take 22 pages to express regret… but where is the complete regret,” Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had told Gandhi’s lawyer Abhishek Singhvi.

In his previous affidavits, Gandhi had told the court that his remarks were not meant to obstruct administration of justice or scandalise the court in any manner. He had also urged the court to dismiss Lekhi’s contempt petition and impose a fine on her for dragging the court into a political controversy.