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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi convicted by the Surat Court over his ‘Modi remark’

On March 23rd, 2023, Thursday Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader was convicted by a Surat court which sentenced him to two years in jail in the criminal defamation case over his remarks during the Lok Sabha Elections in 2019. Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Karnataka’s Kornar wondered how come ‘all thieves have Modi as the common surname’. The Surat Court’s verdict is the latest legal action against the opposition parties and is seen as critical of the Modi government.


Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has been found guilty of defamation for a 2019 campaign trail remark implying that PM Narendra Modi was a criminal. Rahul Gandhi has been convicted under the IP sections 499 and 500, which deal with defamation, and sentenced to two-year imprisonment by the court of chief judicial magistrate H H Varma on Thursday. When the verdict was announced, Rahul Gandhi was presented in the court. Eventually, Gandhi was released on bail after the court pronounced the order after paying the bail bond of Rs 10,000 and the court gave him time to appeal the verdict in the higher court in the time period of next 30 days. 


BJP National President JP Nadda attacked Rahul Gandhi over his remark on ‘Modis are thieves’ and by comparing the OBC communities to thieves, he has shown a ‘casteist and pathetic mindset’. The case against the Congress leader was brought into the court by Purnesh Modi, Gujarat minister. In February, 2023, the final arguments in this case were resumed after the High court of Gujarat vacated the interim stay which had been imposed on the proceedings in March 2022 for the complaint’s plea demanding Rahul Gandhi’s personnel appearance.


Any elected representative who is sentenced for any type of offence over a period of two years or more years faces immediate disqualification under the Act of Representation of Peoples, 1951. Also, there is a provision in the act that grants the protection of  ‘three months’ from the disqualification that was struck down in 2013 as the ‘ultra vires’ by the Supreme Court in the Lily Thomas case. Rahul Gandhi’s lawyer defended the proper legal action under the Section 202 of the CrCP which was not followed, and the proceedings were flawed from the beginning. Congress party will be holding a solidarity march against the Surat Court verdict which sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail in a criminal defamation case over his remark in 2019. Also, Gandhi’s conviction is in a criminal case so he can not directly approach the Supreme court and high court. 


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