Congress leader Rahul Gandhi paid a brief visit to the Parliament Friday morning. However, later in the day, he stood disqualified as a Member of the Lok Sabha following his conviction and two-year jail sentence in a defamation case.
RaGa, who represented Kerala’s Wayanad constituency, was convicted yesterday and sentenced to two years in jail for his alleged remarks over the “Modi” surname. A Gujarat court granted him bail for 30 days to appeal the decision.
According to a 2013 Supreme Court verdict, “any lawmaker convicted in a crime and sentenced to two or more years in jail stand disqualified from the Parliament with immediate effect.”
Further, RaGa will not be allowed to contest elections for eight years until his sentence is suspended or he is acquitted in the case. Congress leaders have denounced the decision stating that “political rivalry” must not be settled “by using judiciary.” National elections are due in India next year.
The Congress party decried the move stating that the promising young leader was being targeted for exposing the government’s “dark deeds.”
Former law minister Kapil Sibal, who was earlier with the Congress, too held that RaGa stands automatically disqualified as an MP and getting only the jail sentence suspended is not enough. He could have continued as an MP only if his conviction was stayed, according to him.
The Congress plans to challenge the local court’s verdict in a sessions court, according to the Congress leader’s team. He will move the Supreme Court if his appeal for a freeze on the order is not accepted there.
The defamation case pertains to RaGa’s alleged “how come all thieves have Modi as the common surname” remark at a pre-election rally in Karnataka’s Kolar in 2019. A former Gujarat minister had filed a complaint alleging he had defamed the entire Modi community.
A court in Surat yesterday convicted him in the case and sentenced him to two years in jail, while also providing a 30-day window to appeal the verdict.
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