A Surat sessions court dismissed an appeal by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for a stay on his conviction in a defamation case over his 2019 “Modi surname” remark.
This means Rahul Gandhi cannot be reinstated as Member of Parliament for now. If the court today stayed or suspended Gandhi’s conviction, he could have been reinstated in Parliament.
“Rahul Gandhi failed to demonstrate that by not staying the conviction and denying an opportunity to contest the election, an irreversible and irrevocable damage will be caused to him,” said trial court judge Robin Mogera.
The court also quoted the Supreme Court as saying that decisions to pause conviction should be exercised with caution and “not in a casual and mechanical manner… that will shake public confidence in the judiciary”.
On March 23, Rahul Gandhi received a two-year prison sentence after being found guilty by a court in Gujarat for a speech he made during the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign. The case was filed by Purnesh Modi, a former Gujarat minister and BJP MLA, in response to Rahul Gandhi’s comment, “Why do all thieves have the surname Modi?”
Former Congress chief approached the sessions court on April 3 against the lower court’s order. His lawyers also filed two applications, one to hold the sentence and another to pause his conviction until a decision on his appeal.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the party will continue to avail all options still available under the law.