After a Surat court held Rahul Gandhi guilty in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surname, he was disqualified as the Member of Lok Sabha today.
He is MP from the Wayanad Parliamentary constituency in Kerala.
After the conviction of Gandhi, the debate over the disqualification norms came to the fore. While legal experts had already speculated the probability of disqualification, the Lok Sabha secretariat confirmed today that Gandhi has been disqualified from Parliament.
However, Gandhi is definitely not the first politician who lost office after a conviction.
Here's the list of politicians who were disqualified from their posts after conviction:
Mohammad Faizal, MP, Lakshadweep: He was convicted by a sessions court in an attempt to murder case on 13 January 2023.
J. Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state and MLA from R. K. Nagar, Tamil Nadu: Disqualified after she was convicted for 4 years in a disproportionate assets case
Lalu Prasad Yadav, MP, Lok Sabha: The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief was convicted in a fodder scam and was disqualified from Lok Sabha in 2013.
The others on the list
Kamal Kishore Bhagat: MLA of All Jharkhand Students Union
Suresh Halvankar: MLA of BJP
T. M. Selvaganapathy: DMK's Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu
Babanrao Gholap: MLA of Shiv Sena
Enos Ekka: Jharkhand Party MLA
Asha Rani: BJP MLA
Rasheed Masood: Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP
Jagdish Sharma: JD(U)’s Lok Sabha MP
Pappu Kalani: MLA from Ulhasnagar
Azam Khan: SP MLA
Abdullah Azam Khan: SP MLA
How Rahul Gandhi's act seems to have come back to haunt him
An ordinance, brought by the UPA government to shield convicted lawmakers from immediate disqualification from the House, was trashed then by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who even tore it publicly during a media interaction, and eventually it had to be withdrawn.
Now, following his conviction in a defamation case by a Surat court on Thursday, his act seems to have come back to haunt him.
In a 2013 ruling in the Lily Thomas vs Union of India case, the Supreme Court had struck down, as "unconstitutional", Section 8(4) of the Representation of The People Act, which stated that if a sitting member of the House is convicted of an offence punishable by more than two years in prison and files an appeal within three months of the conviction, he/she will not be disqualified from holding membership of the House.
This meant that for such lawmakers, simply filing an appeal would not be sufficient but they must secure a stay on their conviction in the case.
The same year, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had promulgated an ordinance to overturn the judgement and retain Section 8 (4), but Rahul Gandhi had called the ordinance "complete nonsense".
"I will tell you what my opinion on the ordinance is. It's complete nonsense and it's my personal opinion," he said, before going to rip a copy of the ordinance into pieces.
This act, which came at a time when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on a foreign trip, had severely embarrassed the government, which went on to withdraw it.
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