Surat court may pronounce verdict on plea to stay Rahul’s conviction

In what could be a momentous day for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the sessions court in Gujarat’s Surat is likely to pronounce its verdict today on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s plea challenging his conviction in a criminal defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark. There was a demand for a ban. Last week, the court of Additional Sessions Judge RP Mogera had reserved its order for April 20 on Rahul Gandhi’s plea to stay his conviction. That the trial court treated him harshly after being highly impressed by his status as an MP.

Rahul Gandhi had approached the sessions court on April 3 against the lower court’s order. His lawyers also filed two applications, one for a stay of sentence (or bail pending the disposal of his appeal) and the other for a stay of conviction pending the disposal of his appeal. Rahul Gandhi On bail, the court issued notice to complainant Purnesh Modi and the state government on their plea to stay his conviction. It heard both the sides on Thursday last week and reserved the order for April 20.

In his plea, Rahul Gandhi said that if the March 23 judgment of the trial court is not suspended and set aside, it would cause irreparable damage to his reputation. He said that the excessive sentence is contrary to the law on the subject and inappropriate in the present case, which has political ramifications.

Gandhi termed his sentence as “erroneous” and “clearly perverse” and said that the trial court treated him harshly after being overly influenced by his position as an MP.

“Considering his status as a Member of Parliament, the appellant has been treated harshly at the stage of award of sentence, therefore the ramifications would have been within the wisdom of the trial court,” he added.

Legislator Purnesh Modi On April 13, 2019, during an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka, his remarks, “How can all thieves be surnamed Modi?” A criminal defamation case was filed against Gandhi for

The 52-year-old politician was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kerala’s Wayanad in 2019 but was disqualified on March 23, a day after a metropolitan magistrate court in Surat sentenced him to two years in jail in a case filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party. was done. BJP MLA Purnesh Modi has been booked under sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Arguing on Gandhi’s plea to stay the conviction, his counsel told the court that the trial of the case was “not proper” and there was no need for maximum punishment in this case.

The Congress leader said that he was sentenced in such a manner to attract the disqualification order as the trial court was well aware of his status as an MP.

He said that the by-election once held in Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency cannot be undone due to his disqualification, if his conviction is not stayed, even if the court acquits him later. He said that such elections would also cause irreparable loss to the exchequer.

Opposing his plea, MLA Modi had told the court that Gandhi was a repeat offender and several criminal defamation proceedings were pending against him in various courts across the country.

Rahul Gandhi lost his membership of the lower house of parliament after he was convicted and sentenced by a Surat court in a 2019 criminal defamation case.

The case pertains to a remark made using the surname ‘Modi’ while addressing a campaign event ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

At a rally in Kolar, Karnataka in April 2019, Rahul took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, “How come all thieves have the surname Modi?”.

As per a Supreme Court ruling in 2013, Rahul was disqualified as an MP on 24 March. Under the ruling, any MP or MLA convicted and sentenced to two years or more was automatically disqualified.

*with agency input

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