Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday was granted bail in a 2019 defamation case.
The Gujarat Court also paused his two-year jail sentence until a until a decision on his appeal challenging his conviction, which will be taken up on April 13.
The Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had filed an appeal against his conviction in a defamation case in the Surat Sessions Court in Gujarat.
ये ‘मित्रकाल’ के विरुद्ध, लोकतंत्र को बचाने की लड़ाई है।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 3, 2023
इस संघर्ष में, सत्य मेरा अस्त्र है, और सत्य ही मेरा आसरा! pic.twitter.com/SYxC8yfc1M
Last month, Rahul was convicted and sentened to two years of imprisonment in a defamation case. Following the conviction, Rahul was disqualified as a Member of Parliament under provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Rahul on Monday arrived in Surat along with sister and fellow Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and a host of Congress leaders.
The Surat Sessions Court on Monday extended Rahul's bail and posted the matter for May 3.
Live Law reported that Rahul's appeal involved two applications. One was for bail and the second was for the suspension of his conviction.
"If the second application is allowed, his membership of the Lok Sabha will be restored, subject to the issuance of notification of the LS Secretariat in this regard," noted Live Law.
Visuals of Rahul arriving in Surat court complex with Priyanka and a host of Congress leaders were shared by media.
VIDEO | Rahul Gandhi, along with sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and a battery of Congress leaders, arrives at Surat Sessions Court to file an appeal against his conviction in a 2019 criminal defamation case. pic.twitter.com/80SJdntiUQ— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) April 3, 2023
The case against Rahul is rooted in comments from a 2019 rally in Karnataka ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. It was filed by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi. Gandhi had remarked saying, "How come all thieves have the common surname Modi?" His dig was seen as an insult to PM Modi insinuating that he shares a common surname with fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi.
The 52-year-old former MP from Wayanad was given bail with his sentence suspended for 30 days, allowing him time to appeal the decision. His Wayanad seat in Kerala is now vacant following his removal from office. The Election Commission can also announce a special election for the seat.
Gandhi's disqualification as a parliament MP after Gujarat's court order instigated a fractured opposition to come together and charge at the BJP over their alleged misuse of central investigative agencies against the members of rival parties.
The BJP however said the conviction order is an independent judiciary decision, with party president JP Nadda accusing Gandhi of insulting an Other Backward Class (OBC) community - a key vote base for the party.
(With PTI inputs)