Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was convicted in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his alleged "Modi surname" remark on Thursday.
Following the verdict in the defamation case, speculation was ripe about his disqualification as a Member of Parliament. As per the Representation of the People Act, a person sentenced to imprisonment of two years or more shall be disqualified "from the date of such conviction" and remain disqualified for another six years after serving time.
Kanchan Gupta, senior adviser, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that Rahul Gandhi is staring at disqualification because he was convicted in a criminal case and handed a two-year prison term for the same.
Why Congress MP Rahul Gandhi faces 'immediate disqualification' as per landmark Supreme Court judgement of 10 July 2013:— Kanchan Gupta 🇮🇳 (@KanchanGupta) March 23, 2023
Trial court has held Rahul Gandhi guilty of criminal defamation; sentenced him to 2 years jail. SC has said this should lead to immediate disqualification.
In a series of tweets, he referred to the Lily Thomas vs Union of India judgement of 10 July 2013, Supreme Court of India ruled that 'any MP, MLA or MLC who is convicted of a crime and given a minimum of 2 years' jail, loses membership of the House with immediate effect'.
"Supreme Court of India's 10 July 2013 judgement negates previous position which allowed convicted MPs, MLAs, MLCs to retain their seats until they had exhausted all judicial remedy in lower, state and Supreme Court of India," he said.
He further said that judgement had also struck down Section 8(4) of Representation of the People Act, which allowed elected representatives 3 months to appeal their conviction, as 'unconstitutional'.
He quoted an example of Abdullah Azam Khan, SP MLA, who was immediately disqualified from Uttar Pradesh Assembly after a trial court convicted him to two years in prison in criminal case. "In a democracy, nobody, absolutely nobody is above the law. All are equal. The law, therefore, equally applies to Rahul Gandhi," he said.