'Why Can't Congress Control And Train Him?': BJP Welcomes Gujarat HC Verdict In Rahul Gandhi Defamation Case

The Gujarat High Court today dismissed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's plea seeking a stay on his conviction in a criminal defamation case over his "Modi surname" remark.

New Delhi: The BJP on Friday welcomed the Gujarat High Court's decision to reject Rahul Gandhi's plea to stay his conviction in the 'Modi Surname' criminal defamation case and said that it is the Congress leader's "chronic habit" to abuse and defame others. Addressing a press conference, senior BJP leader and former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad noted that the Congress leader refused to apologise for his 'Modi surname' jibe and displayed "irresponsible arrogance".

"If he behaves like this and defames people and institutions, the law will catch up with him, he said. The law has caught up with him, he added. Prasad noted that there are seven-eight defamation cases against the former Congress president. It has become a chronic habit of Gandhi to abuse and defame eminent people and organisations,'' the BJP leader said, noting that he has also been accused of insulting a great patriot such as Veer Savarkar and the Hindutva organisation RSS.

It is his arrogance that he believes he is above the law as he is from the Gandhi family, Prasad said. "...We would like to ask Congress - why can't you control Rahul Gandhi? Why can't you train him to speak properly? He is your leader. Had he apologised in this matter, it would have ended...It has become a chronic habit of Rahul Gandhi to abuse, defame & almost shower the worst kind of abuses against eminent leaders and organisations," Prasad sought to know from the Congress party. 



Gujarat HC Dismisses Rahul Gandhi’s Plea


Earlier in the day, the Gujarat High Court dismissed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's plea seeking a stay on his conviction in a criminal defamation case over his "Modi surname" remark. While dismissing the plea, Justice Hemant Prachchhak noted that Gandhi was already facing 10 criminal cases across India, adding that the order of the lower court was "just, proper and legal" in handing over a two-year jail term to Gandhi for his remarks. There was no reasonable ground to stay the conviction, the high court said. 

"He (Gandhi) was trying to stay the conviction on absolutely non-existent grounds. It is a well-settled principle of law that staying of conviction is not a rule, but an exception, resorted only in rare cases. Disqualification is not only limited to MP, MLAs. Moreover, as many as 10 criminal cases are pending against the applicant," the HC said. "After this complaint, another complaint was filed in a court in Pune by the grandson of Veer Savarkar for Gandhi's defamatory utterance against Veer Savarkar at Cambridge. Another complaint against him was filed in the concerned court of Lucknow," it said. 

Against this backdrop, refusal of stay on conviction would not in any way result in injustice to the applicant, the judge said. "Impugned order passed by the appellate court is just, proper and legal, and does not call for any interference. However, it is hereby requested by the concerned learned district judge to decide the criminal appeal on its own merits and in accordance with the law as expeditiously as possible. "In view of the above, the present criminal revision application deserved to be dismissed and accordingly it is dismissed," the judge while reading the order. While noting that there was no reasonable ground to stay the conviction at this stage, Justice Prachchhak also directed the district and sessions court of Surat to hear Gandhi's appeal against the conviction "as expeditiously as possible".

Will Challenge the HC Order In SC: Congress


After the verdict, the Congress party said it would challenge the high court order in the Supreme Court. A stay on Gandhi's conviction in the case would have paved the way for his reinstatement as a Member of Parliament. Unhappy with the high court's verdict, Congress Legislative Party leader in Gujarat Assembly, Amit Chavda, told reporters that the party will challenge the high court order in the apex court. 

A metropolitan magistrate's court in Surat on March 23 sentenced the former Congress president to two years in jail after convicting him under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) in a 2019 case filed by Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Gujarat MLA Purnesh Modi. Following the verdict, Gandhi, elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala in 2019, was disqualified as a Member of Parliament (MP) under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act. 

Gandhi then challenged the order in a sessions court in Surat, which is still pending, along with an application seeking a stay to the conviction. While granting him bail, the sessions court on April 20 refused to stay the conviction, following which, he knocked the doors of HC. BJP MLA and former minister in Gujarat government Purnesh Modi filed a criminal defamation case 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. 

During an earlier hearing on April 29 in the court of Justice Prachchhak, Gandhi's lawyer had argued that a maximum punishment of two years for a bailable, non-cognisable offence meant he could lose his Lok Sabha seat "permanently and irreversibly", which was a "very serious additional irreversible consequence to the person and the constituency he represents".