Defamation case: SC to hear Rahul’s plea against Guj HC's refusal to stay conviction on July 21

Defamation case: SC to hear Rahul’s plea against Guj HC's refusal to stay conviction on July 21

New Delhi, July 18 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on July 21 a plea filed by former Congress President Rahul Gandhi against the Gujarat High Court's verdict denying to put a stay on his conviction in the 'Modi surname' defamation case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud directed to list the matter on Friday after senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Rahul Gandhi, sought urgent listing of the matter. 

Singhvi requested the top court to list the plea either on Friday (July 21) or Monday (July 24). The court has agreed to list the matter for hearing this Friday. "List this Friday," said CJI Chandrachud. 

On July 15, the Congress leader approached the Supreme Court against the Gujarat High Court's order to stay his conviction and two-year jail term in a criminal defamation case, which cost the Congress leader his Lok Sabha membership. 

A bench of Justice Hemant Prachchhak of the high court had observed that granting a stay on his conviction would be an exception, and not a rule.

Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Member of Parliament in March after a Surat court convicted him and sentenced him to two years in prison for his "How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname" remark made during an election rally in Karnataka in April 2019.

In anticipation, Purnesh Modi, a BJP MLA and the complainant in the defamation case against Gandhi, had submitted a caveat in the Supreme Court requesting for a chance to present his case if the Congress leader challenges the high court verdict.

A caveat serves as a notice submitted to an appellate court by a litigant who wishes to be heard in case any orders are issued regarding an opponent's appeal that challenges the decision or judgment made by the lower court.

Rahul Gandhi's 2019 remark was interpreted as an attempt to draw an implicit connection between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi.

In March, the sessions court in Surat had dismissed Rahul Gandhi's plea seeking suspension of his conviction by the magistrate court, stating that his disqualification will not result in an irreversible loss to him. 

According to legal experts, if the top court stays Rahul Gandhi's conviction, it would be sufficient to restore his Lok Sabha membership. The Congress leader was disqualified under a rule that bars convicted MPs from holding Lok Sabha membership.

(The content of this article is sourced from a news agency and has not been edited by the ap7am team.)

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