An RSS activist, who had initiated criminal proceedings for defamation against Rahul Gandhi, has informed a court here about the Congress leader's disqualification after his conviction in a similar case in Gujarat, and opposed his application seeking permanent exemption from appearance.
The complainant, Rajesh Kunte, had in 2014 filed a private complaint before the Bhiwandi magistrate’s court after watching Gandhi’s speech where he allegedly accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
Kunte claimed this statement slandered the reputation of the RSS. Gandhi had appeared before the court in June 2018 and pleaded not guilty. Last year, he had filed an application seeking permanent exemption from appearing in the court on the ground that he was a member of Parliament who had to visit his constituency, attend the party work and travel a lot.
Two days back, Kunte, while opposing Gandhi’s application, submitted a pursis (written note/information) to the court saying after Gandhi’s conviction by a Surat court in a defamation case, the Congress leader was disqualified.
Kunte submitted that since Gandhi is not an MP any more, his application seeking permanent exemption stands to be infructuous (pointless/unnecessary). He added that the offence under which Gandhi was held guilty and sentenced to two years in jail was of a similar nature to the present case.
The court took note of the same and posted the matter on April 1 for orders on Gandhi’s application seeking permanent exemption, Gandhi’s advocate Narayan Iyer said.
The court in Surat had on March 23 sentenced Gandhi to two years in jail in the 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his "why all thieves have Modi surname" remarks. But the court also granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court. The next day, he was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha.