August 7, 2023 In Uncategorized


Shri. Rahul Gandhi, Member of Parliament, who represents the Constituency of Wayanad, Kerala, was convicted by the Ld. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat (CJM) in Criminal Case 18712 / 2019, vide Order dated 23-03-2023 (Order of Conviction) for allegedly giving a speech in Bengaluru on 13-04-2019, addressing people with the Modi surname as offenders citing examples of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Lalit Modi and Vijay Malya.

A defamation case was filed by one, Mr. Purnesh Ishwerbhai Modi under Sections 499 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 (IPC) (Defamation) and 500 IPC (Punishment for defamation). The Ld. CJM held the Accused guilty for the offences alleged and sentenced him to undergo simple imprisonment of two (2) years.

An Appeal was filed by the Accused-Rahul Gandhi. The Accused also filed Criminal Revision Application bearing CRLRA No. 521 / 2023 before the Hon’ble High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad. But the High Court refused to grant stay of Order of Conviction dated 23-03-2023 and thereby, upheld the said Order of Conviction, vide Order dated 07-07-2023.

Aggrieved, the Accused filed Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s). 8644 / 2023 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, which was registered as Crl.A. No. 002279 / 2023 in Rahul Gandhi vs Purnesh Ishwarbhai Modi & Anr.

A Three Judge Bench of the Apex Court comprising of Justice B.R. Gavai, Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha and Justice Sanjay Kumar, vide Order dated 04-08-2023, observed as follows:

1) That a three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Yashwant Sinha vs CBI, (2020) 2 SCC 338 passed a Judgment dated 14-11-2019 in respect of Contempt Petition (Crl.) No. 3 of 2019 filed against the Accused-Shri. Rahul Gandhi for making absurd remarks against the Supreme Court of India, thereby claiming that the Apex Court had admitted that Mr. Modi had indulged in corruption, which was not the case. However, owing to an unconditional apology given by the Accused to the Supreme Court by way of an Additional Affidavit dated 08-05-2019, the Bench held as follows:

31….We do believe that persons holding such important positions in the political spectrum must be more careful. As to what should be his campaign line is for a political person to consider. However, this Court or for that matter no court should be dragged into this political discourse valid or invalid, while attributing aspects to the Court which had never been held by the Court. Certainly Mr. Gandhi needs to be more careful in future.

33. However, in view of the subsequent affidavit, better sense having prevailed, we would not like to continue these proceedings further and, thus, close the contempt proceedings with a word of caution for the contemnor to be more careful in future.

2) That the Ld. Trial Court had not assigned any reasons for imposing the maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment to the Accused under Section 500 IPC for an offence of defamation under Section 499 IPC, which is necessary to be mentioned in case of offences which are non-cognizable, bailable and compoundable.

3) Further, on being convicted under Section 499 IPC and sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment under Section 500 IPC, the provisions of Section 8 (3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (Act) (Disqualification on conviction for certain offences) also got attracted, as a result of which, the Accused got disqualified from being the Member of Parliament from the date of his conviction, and such disqualification would continue for a further period of 6 years since his release. Hence, the ramifications of the said provisions had an adverse effect on the right of the Accused to continue in public life and the right of the electorate, who have elected him to represent their constituency.

Thus, the Bench held that the Ld. CJM’s Order imposing the maximum sentence, has the effect of incurring disqualification under Section 8(3) of the Act, hence, the Order of Conviction was stayed, pending hearing of the present Appeal.

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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