Congress Rajya Sabha MP and senior lawyer Vivek Tankha on Sunday said he would have appealed against the conviction of Rahul Gandhi in a 2019 defamation case directly in the Supreme Court and not in the sessions court as has been done.
Gandhi was convicted by a court in Surat in Gujarat on March 23 for his "Modi surname and thieves" remark and was disqualified as Lok Sabha MP the next day under provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
Gandhi's appeal for a stay on the sentence was rejected on April 20 by the court of additional sessions judge RP Mogera in Surat. The sessions court has set May 20 as the date to begin hearing on Gandhi's appeal against the lower court's March 23 order.
When asked if the legal issues in the case could have been handled better by the party, Tankha, speaking in the Indore Press Club, said, "Some issues are with the party leadership, which I cannot answer. However, Gandhi's lawyers adopted the traditional approach of first challenging the trial court's decision in the sessions court, and then thinking of moving to High Court and then to SC."
There is nothing wrong in the traditional approach but if he or Kapil Sibal, another senior lawyer-politician who was also present at the meet, were defending Gandhi, they would have gone to the apex court straight away in appeal, Tankha asserted.
Rajya Sabha MP Sibal did not comment on the case claiming he was not longer with the Congress.
Tankha also attacked the Narendra Modi government for "disrespecting" the Collegium system to appoint judges, adding that he had "absolutely no faith in the government stand regarding an independent judiciary".
That is why the collegium system needs to be supported, he added.
When asked about his personal opinion on same-sex marriages, Tankha said he was a liberal man who did not consider homosexuals as criminals but "I wouldn't want this (same sex marriage) in my home".
A five-judge Constitution bench of the apex court is hearing a batch of petitions seeking legal validation for same-sex marriages in the country.
-With PTI Input