Gujarat High Court to Pronounce Judgment on Rahul Gandhi’s Plea in ‘Modi Surname’ Defamation Case

The Gujarat High Court is scheduled to deliver its judgment on July 7 regarding Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s plea seeking a stay on his conviction in the ‘Modi surname’ defamation case. This comes after the Jharkhand High Court’s directive on July 4, which ordered that no coercive action be taken against Rahul Gandhi in the same case until the next hearing on August 16. In May of this year, the Gujarat High Court had reserved its order on Rahul Gandhi’s plea seeking a stay on his conviction in the 2019 defamation case.

The court has refused to grant interim relief to Rahul Gandhi in this matter. The Congress leader had approached the Gujarat High Court on April 25, challenging the Surat sessions court’s decision that declined to grant a stay on his conviction in the criminal defamation case. During the hearing on April 29, Rahul Gandhi’s counsel, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, requested additional time to present certain documents as evidence. As a result, the court adjourned the hearing to May 2.

On April 20, the Surat sessions court had dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s plea seeking a stay on his conviction in the 2019 criminal defamation case. In his judgment, Additional Sessions Judge Robin P. Mogera highlighted Rahul Gandhi’s status as an MP and former chief of a major political party, noting that he should have exercised greater caution in his remarks. The judge referred to prima facie evidence and observations made by the trial court, stating that Rahul Gandhi had made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had equated individuals sharing the Modi surname with thieves.

Judge Mogera emphasized that the complainant in the case, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Purnesh Modi, shares the same surname and is also involved in public life. The judge expressed that such defamatory comments could harm Purnesh Modi’s reputation and cause him distress in society. Mogera also mentioned the disqualification criteria under the Representation of the People Act and stated that removal or disqualification as an MP did not constitute irreversible or irreparable loss or damage to Rahul Gandhi.

Following his conviction by the lower court in the criminal defamation case, Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP. He had previously been elected to the Lok Sabha from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala. The lower court had sentenced the Congress leader to two years in jail on March 23, based on sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to defamation, in a case filed by Purnesh Modi.

After the session’s court verdict, the Congress party announced its intention to approach the Gujarat High Court. Now, with the impending judgment on Rahul Gandhi’s plea, the outcome of the ‘Modi surname’ defamation case is eagerly awaited.

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