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‘Truth Always Triumphs’, Says Rahul Gandhi After SC Stays His Conviction In Defamation Case


New Delhi: In a major relief to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the Supreme Court, in an interim order on Friday, stayed his conviction in the criminal defamation case over ‘Modi surname’ remark.

Talking to the media hours after the Supreme Court order, Rahul Gandhi thanked people for their love and support. “Aaj nahi toh kal, kal nahi toh parson sachai ki jeet hoti hai (whether it is today or tomorrow or the day after, truth always triumphs),” Gandhi said.

The apex court stay on Gandhi’s conviction has paved the way for revival of his status as Member of Parliament, and allowing him to contest the general elections in 2024.

While granting relief to Gandhi, the Supreme Court said ramifications of the trial court’s order are wide. Not only was Gandhi’s right to continue in public life affected but also that of the electorate who elected him.

“No reason has been given by the trial judge for imposing maximum sentence, the order of conviction needs to be stayed pending final adjudication,” the bench said.

“There is no doubt that utterances are not in good taste, person in public life is expected to exercise caution while making public speeches,” Supreme Court said. “As observed by this court while accepting his affidavit in the contempt petition, he (Rahul Gandhi) ought to have been more careful.”

The apex court earlier in the day began hearing of an appeal filed by the Congress leader challenging Gujarat High Court order which declined to stay his conviction in the criminal defamation case.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for Rahul Gandhi, stated that he will have to make out an exceptional case for a stay on conviction.

Singhvi said in his arguments that complainant Purnesh Modi’s original surname is not ‘Modi’ and he adopted this surname later.

“Not a single of the persons Gandhi had named during his speech has sued. This is a small community of 13 crore people and there is no uniformity, or homogeneity. Who is aggrieved in this community are only people who are BJP office-holders and suing, Singhvi said.

“This is 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?” he argued.

“In 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,” he added.

In an affidavit filed before the top court, Rahul Gandhi once again refused to apologise for his Modi surname remark that led to his conviction in the defamation case and subsequent disqualification from the Parliament but urged the Supreme Court to stay his conviction asserting he is not guilty.

“Using the criminal process and the consequences under Representation of People Act” to arm twist the Petitioner into apologising for no fault is gross abuse of the judicial process and ought not to be countenanced by this Court.

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