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HC extends interim relief for Rahul from court appearance till August 2

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 1: Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi speaks at the National Press Club on June 1, 2023 in Washington, DC. Gandhi is on weeklong trip to the United States. His remarks included his thoughts about the future of Indian democracy, freedom of speech and inclusive economic growth. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been granted an extension until August 2 by the Bombay High Court for his interim relief from appearing in a defamation case related to his alleged remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018.

The complainant, who identifies as a BJP worker, accused Gandhi of defamation for his statement referring to the Prime Minister as the “commander-in-thief” in relation to the Rafale fighter jet deal.

In response to a plea filed by Rahul Gandhi challenging the summons issued to him by a local court in 2021, a single bench of Justice S V Kotwal adjourned the hearing. The adjournment was granted after the complainant’s lawyer requested for more time.

 “The interim relief granted earlier to continue till August 2,” Justice Kotwal said.

Previously, Rahul Gandhi was directed by a local court to appear before it in November 2021 in response to a defamation complaint filed by Mahesh Shrishrimal. However, Gandhi approached the High Court, challenging the summons issued to him. In November 2021, the High Court directed the magistrate to postpone the hearing on the defamation complaint. This meant that Rahul Gandhi was not required to appear before the magistrate at that time.

Subsequently, the hearing on Rahul Gandhi’s plea has been adjourned multiple times, and the interim relief granted to him has also been extended. It’s worth noting that the magistrate had initiated criminal proceedings against Gandhi in August 2019. However, Gandhi claimed in his petition before the High Court that he became aware of these proceedings only in July 2021.

The complainant alleged that Gandhi had made defamatory statements against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a rally held in Rajasthan in September 2018.

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