Gujarat: Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party suffered a major blow on Friday after the Gujarat High Court dismissed the leader's plea requesting for an interim stay against his conviction in connection with the Modi surname defamation case. This verdict means that Gandhi will remain disqualified as the MP for Lok Sabha and will not be able to contest elections. However, Gandhi is free to challenge the High Court's order in the Apex Court.
The Gujarat Court gave some sharp remarks while rejecting Gandhi's plea today. Here are top five quotes from the court's verdict during today's hearing:
"Gandhi is seeking a stay on conviction on absolutely non-existent grounds. Stay on conviction is not a rule," said Gujarat HC while swiftly dismissing the former Congress MP's plea.
Pointing out other criminal cases against Gandhi and mentioning a need of morality in politics, the court said, "As many as 10 cases are pending against Gandhi. It is needed to have purity in politics."
"A complaint has been filed against Gandhi by the grandson of Veer Savarkar in Pune Court after Gandhi used terms against Veer Savarkar at Cambridge," said the court citing another incident of defamation done by the Congress leader.
"Refusal to stay conviction would not in any way result in injustice to the applicant. There are no reasonable grounds to stay conviction," said the court making its stand clear on the refusal of Gandhi's plea.
Stating that the court's order is appropriate and lawful, the court concluded saying, "The conviction is just, proper and legal. There is no need to interfere with the said order. Therefore, the application is dismissed."
Congress Leaders Express Disapproval On Verdict
Congress party swiftly reacted to the court's decision after it turned down Gandhi's plea. Senior party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala termed the verdict a "Travesty of justice !"
"Instead of punishing ‘Bank Fraudsters’ like Nirav Modi, Ami Modi, Neeshal Modi, Mehul Choksi & ilk, the 'messenger' exposing the deceit & swindling of public money is being punished," said Surjewala.
Congress party Media Incharge Jairam Ramesh said, "Judgement only redoubles our resolve to pursue the matter further." He also stated that the judgement is being studied upon and party will brief the media soon over it.
About the Modi Surname Defamation Case
Surat West MLA Purnesh Modi filed a criminal defamation case against Gandhi over his "how come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?" remark made during an election rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019.
A metropolitan magistrate's court in Surat sentenced the former Congress president to two years in jail on March 23 after convicting him under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) in the case.