NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday filed a rejoinder affidavit in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on his conviction in a 2019 criminal defamation case over ‘Modi surname’ remark – which has led to his suspension from parliament.

In his affidavit, Rahul Gandhi refused to apologise and said that he is not “guilty of offence and that the conviction is unsustainable”.
“The complainant, Gujarat BJP MLA Purnesh Ishwarbhai Modi, in his reply before the Supreme Court used slanderous terms such as ‘arrogant’ to describe Gandhi only because he has refused to apologise. Using the criminal process and the consequences under Representation of Peoples Act to arm-twist Rahul Gandhi into apologising for no fault, is gross abuse of the judicial process and ought not to be countenanced by this Court,” his affidavit stated.

“He has an ‘exceptional’ case considering the offence being a trivial offence, and the irreparable harm that accrues to him, as an elected MP, on the other hand, there is no prejudice caused at all to the complainant. It is therefore prayed for that the conviction of Rahul Gandhi be stayed, enabling him to participate in the ongoing sittings of the Lok Sabha and the sessions thereafter,” it added.
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. The top court will hear the matter on August 4.
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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