Rahul Gandhi To File Appeal In SC 'Very Soon' For Stay On Conviction In Defamation Case: Cong

Asked about it at a party briefing, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said an appeal will be filed very soon.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi is likely to move the Supreme Court "very soon" against the Gujarat High Court order rejecting his plea for a stay on his conviction in a defamation case.

Party sources said the petition may be filed in the Supreme Court within this week as work on it is underway.

Asked about it at a party briefing, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said an appeal will be filed very soon.

"It will be very soon. It is under preparation. Nearest future, you will come to know of that," he said.

Singhvi is also the lawyer appearing for Rahul Gandhi in the case.

Gandhi was disqualified as a Member of Parliament on March 24, 2023 after a Gujarat court convicted him and sentenced him to a two-year imprisonment on charges of criminal defamation for comments he made about the Modi surname.

A stay on Gandhi's conviction could pave the way for his reinstatement as a Lok Sabha MP. However, he has not received any relief from either the sessions court or the Gujarat High Court.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, the complainant in the defamation case, has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court seeking that he be heard if the Congress leader moves a plea challenging the high court verdict.

The Congress on Wednesday held "silent" protests in various part of the country to express solidarity with Rahul Gandhi.

In a setback to 53-year-old Gandhi, Justice Hemant Prachchhak of the high court had dismissed the appeal of Gandhi saying "it is now the need of the hour to have purity in politics”.

The high court also noted that the representatives of the people should be "men of clear antecedent" and that a stay on conviction is not a rule, but an exception resorted to only in rare cases and there was no reasonable ground to stay his conviction.

The Congress later said it will move the Supreme Court against the verdict and alleged that the government is finding "newer techniques" to throttle his voice as it is rattled by his speaking the truth.

Purnesh Modi, a former minister in the Gujarat government, had filed the criminal defamation case in 2019 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 on March 23 this year sentenced the former Congress president to two years in jail after convicting him under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation).

Following the verdict, Gandhi, elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala in 2019, was disqualified as a Member of Parliament under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act.

-With PTI Input

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