Rahul Gandhi asserts in his Surat court plea that he was victimized and accused of ineligibility as an MP
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told a Surat session court on Monday that his guilty verdict by a local court in a 2019 defamation lawsuit over his “Modi surname” comment was unreasonable and manifestly perverse, and that he was sentenced in such a way that he would be expelled as a Member of Parliament.
In his appeal to the session court against the conviction and two-year sentence handed down last month, Mr. Gandhi claimed the trial court had unfairly treated him and had been “overwhelmingly influenced” by the fact that he was an MP. He also insisted there was no concrete Modi samaj or community that could be identified.
The former Congress president stated in his request for the suspension of conviction that “it seems too reasonable to assert that the accused was convicted in a way to entice the order of disqualification (as an MP)” in his application, which will be heard on April 13. He received bail until the outcome of his appeal from Additional Sessions Judge RP Mogera’s court earlier in the day in exchange for a ₹ 15,000 bond.
On March 23, the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate H H Varma found Mr. Gandhi (52), who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala in 2019, guilty of criminal defamation and sentenced him to two years in prison. He had been given bail by the magistrate’s court for 30 days to appeal the decision. He was declared ineligible to serve in the Lok Sabha a day later under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
He claimed in his plea submitted through his lawyer that the judgment and sentence were delivered without any proof.
The petition claims that the magistrate’s court’s decision was made based on suppositions, conjectures, speculations, and assumptions that are completely prohibited by criminal law.
In such a situation, he (the trial judge) undoubtedly assumed that the imposition of a two-year maximum sentence would result in his exclusion from office as a member of parliament, according to the plea.
The four-time MP said in his plea, “Parliamentarian, in Opponents, is presumed or rather needed to be ‘diligent and crucial’ and the trial court’s belief that a Parliamentary Candidate expects to be given the greatest sanctions because of his prestige “is completely unjustified and unfair.”
The key element of a “true and healthy democracy,” according to him, is “a strong and uncompromising opposition.” As a member of the legislature, a person is very likely to irritate and/or embarrass those in authority while carrying out his or her duties as a critic of the government, according to Mr. Gandhi.
The Gujarat BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, the person who filed the complaint in the case, was served a notice by the session court while granting bail to Mr. Gandhi, requesting a response by April 10 on the matter of the request for the suspension of conviction.