Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from Lok Sabha on Friday following his conviction in the criminal defamation case over his 'Modi surname' remark. He was convicted by the Surat court for his 2019 remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday.
Following his conviction, a war of words sparked on the internet about whether the Congress leader will be barred from Lok Sabha. While some like Kanchan Gupta, Senior Adviser to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, have said that the Wayanad MP is "automatically" disqualified with the conviction, others maintained that he could overturn his own disqualification.
However, today, the Lok Sabha secretariat confirmed that Gandhi has been disqualified from Parliament. Announcing his disqualification, the Lok Sabha Secretariat in a notification said that it was effective from March 23, the day of his conviction.
"Consequent upon his conviction by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat...Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction i.e. 23 March, 2023," the notification read. It referred to the provisions of the Article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Here are some other well-known politicians who were disqualified from their political positions in the past after being convicted by a court.
Ex-Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was the first MLA from the state to be disqualified after the Supreme Court judgement ruled in 2014 on the Representation of the People Act that prevents convicted politicians from holding office. She was convicted for allegedly misusing her office during her tenure between 1991 and 1996, which also included allegations of corruption. The case lasted 18 years.
Lalu Prasad Yadav
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was disqualified in 2013 after he was convicted in the first of the many fodder scams that were unearthed and was sentenced to five years in jail. The case is related to the fraudulent withdrawal of money from the Dorandra treasury in 1995-1996. Following the conviction, he was barred from contesting the elections for 11 years.
Samajwadi Party's Abdullah Azam Khan
Samajwadi Party MLA Abdullah Azam Khan was disqualified from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly earlier this year, days after a court sentenced him to two-year imprisonment in a 15-year-old case. This was his second disqualification from the Assembly.
Abdullah Azam Khan, along with his father, was sentenced under section 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) over a dharna on a state highway on January 29, 2008 as their cavalcade was stopped by police for checking in the wake of an attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur on December 31, 2007. The court, however, granted bail to both of them.
Samajwadi Party's Azam Khan
Earlier, Abdullah Azam’s father Azam Khan was disqualified on October 28, 2022 after his conviction in a 2019 hate speech case during Lok Sabha elections. Azam Khan was the Rampur Sadar MLA.
National Congress Party (NCP) MP from Lakshwadeep, Mohammad Faizal was disqualified earlier this year after him and three others, were sentenced to 10 years of jail in connection with an attempt to murder case in 2009.
BJP's Vikram Saini
BJP MLA from Khautali, Vikram Saini was disqualified in November 2022 after he was sentenced to a two-year imprisonment following his alleged role in the Muzaffarnagar Riots in 2013.
Another BJP MLA from Madhya Pradesh, Prahlad Lodhi was disqualified in 2019 after a Bhopal court sentenced him and 12 others to two years in jail for attacking a Tehsildar (revenue official) in 2014. However, the MP High Court put a stay on conviction and the jail term and said that he was disqualified by the state assembly speaker in a "hurried manner". A month later, he got back his House membership after the Supreme Court upheld the stay by the High Court.
(With inputs from PTI)