NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday fixed the hearing on Rahul Gandhi’s plea for stay of his conviction in the defamation case over ‘Modi surname’ remark on August 4.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and PK Mishra issued notices to complainant and BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, who had filed a criminal defamation case in 2019 against Gandhi
Rahul had appealed against the Gujarat HC verdictdismissing his plea seeking a stay on his conviction.In his appeal, the former Congress president said if the July 7 HC judgment is not stayed, it will lead to ‘throttling of free speech, expression, thought, and statement’.Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Rahul, argued that the Congress leader has already lost 111 days as an MP from Wayanad constuency and apprehended that EC may announce bypoll soon. “He could not attend the last Parliament session and now stands to be out of ongoing session. Please consider granting interim stay on conviction,” he said.

A bench headed by CJI DY Chandrachud had on July 18 agreed to hear Rahul’s plea after senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi mentioned the matter and sought urgent hearing.

The Congress leader was disqualified as an MP on March 24 after a Gujarat court convicted and sentenced him to two-year imprisonment on the charge of criminal defamation for comments he made about the Modi surname.

In a setback to the 53-year-old leader, the high court had dismissed his petition for a stay on conviction on July 7. A stay on Rahul’s conviction could have paved the way for his reinstatement as a Lok Sabha MP but he failed to get any relief.
During an election rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019, Rahul had said, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?”

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