The Gujarat High Court has declined to grant a stay on Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and two-year jail term in a criminal defamation case. This conviction led to the loss of his membership in Parliament. The court stated that granting a stay on conviction is not the norm but rather an exception.
The defamation case originated during the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign when Gandhi made a remark linking the surname “Modi” to various individuals, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi. The court interpreted this comment as an implicit attempt to establish a connection between them.
During the hearing on April 29, Gandhi’s counsel argued that his client could face permanent and irreversible loss of his Lok Sabha seat due to the maximum punishment of two years associated with the offence. The lawyer also emphasized that such a loss would have serious and irreversible consequences for both Gandhi and the constituency he represents.
In May 2023, the Gujarat High Court reserved its order on Gandhi’s plea to stay his conviction in the defamation case.
Following the Gujarat High Court’s refusal to grant a stay on the conviction of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party expressed its respect for the court’s decision and announced its intention to approach the Supreme Court.
Speaking to media at the party headquarters in New Delhi, Congress treasurer Pawan Bansal said, “We respect the court, but we don’t agree with the judgement as according to us this is wrong.”
Meanwhile, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter and said, “We have noted the verdict of the single-judge bench of the Gujarat High Court on the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi. The reasoning of the judge is being studied, as it should be, and Dr Abhishek Singhvi will be briefing the media in detail at 3 pm. The judgement only redoubles our resolve to pursue the matter further.”
Speaking to IANS, Indian Youth Congress chief Srinivas BV said, “Truth can be troubled but cannot be defeated. We have trust in the Supreme Court as everyone knows why such a thing (conviction) has happened. Rahul Gandhi has raised the issue of Adani Group and Rs 20,000 crore in shell companies. We have trust in the Supreme Court.”
Congress leaders made the comments in response to the Gujarat High Court’s decision to uphold the Sessions Court’s ruling, which denied a stay on Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in the defamation case related to his “Modi surname” remark.
Following the court’s decision, a large gathering of Congress workers gathered at the party’s headquarters, where they expressed their discontent with the BJP government at the national level.
Additional security measures were put in place at the Congress headquarters.