NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Gujarat high Court’s refusal to stay his conviction in the defamation case over ‘Modi surname’ remark.
Earlier this month, while rejecting Rahul Gandhi’s plea, the HC called for the need for purity in politics and said that people’s representative should be of clear character.
“It is now the need of the hour to have purity in politics. A representative of people should be a man of clear character…” the judge said while referring to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s grandson filing a defamation complaint in a Lucknow court against the Congress leader for his comment on the founder of the Hindutva ideology. By citing the pending complaints against Gandhi, the court said, “In this background, a refusal of stay on conviction, in any way, would not result in any injustice to the applicant.”
The HC upheld the Surat sessions court’s decision of refusal of stay and termed it “just and legal”. The HC asked the sessions court to expedite Gandhi’a appeal against the order of two-year jail term in the defamation case. On March 23, Gandhi was sentenced to two years in jail under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC after a BJP leader and former Gujarat minister, Purnesh Modi, filed a criminal defamation case against the Congress leader.
Gandhi was sued for his comment that he allegedly made during the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign. During a rally at Kollar in Karnataka in April 2011, Gandhi took a dig at the prime minister Narendra Modi, and after calling names of Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi, he reportedly said, “How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?”
After losing his Parliament membership from Wayanad under the provisions of the Representation of People Act over the conviction, Gandhi appealed against the conviction and sentence. On April 20, the sessions court in Surat admitted his appeal, suspended his sentence but refused to stay the conviction. As there was no stay on conviction, Gandhi’s membership remained suspended.

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