Surat court judgment erroneous: Congress mulls all legal options

After court dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s plea to stay his conviction in Modi surname defamation case, Congress says it will utilise all legal options available

NEW DELHI | Updated: 20 April, 2023 7:13 pm IST
Veteran party leaders S Jairam Ramesh and Abhishek Manu Singhvi

The Congress on Thursday dubbed the Surat’s Session Court order in the Modi surname defamation case against former party chief Rahul Gandhi as “unfortunate and erroneous”.

The Grand Old Party also said that the party will utilise all legal options available to it.

The Congress remarks came after the Surat Session Court on Thursday dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s plea for a stay on his conviction in a criminal defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark.

Last Thursday, the court of Additional Sessions Judge RP Mogera reserved its verdict for April 20, pending Gandhi’s appeal against a lower court’s order sentencing him to two years in jail in the case.

Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “The point is very simple, in that the most unfortunate and unsustainable legal decision of the magistrate has been upheld in an even more unsustainable and erroneous judgment of the sessions court given today.”

He said that the conviction has been upheld, contrary to all basic and elementary principles of law.

“The judgment will be challenged in accordance with the law in the very near future and it will be challenged in the High Court. We are confident that superior courts with constitutional powers of judicial review will set right these legal errors found in these two judgments,” Singhvi, who himself is a noted lawyer, said.

He said that the party is clear that the judgment is devoid of valid and sustainable legal reasoning.

“The one sentence and one line remark of Rahul Gandhi in a two and a half page odd speech has been from inception distorted completely out of recognition to serve the narrow ends of motivated complainants that have been hardly interpreted in the sessions court judgment, and what little has been said is a complete distortion and legally erroneous,” Singhvi said.

“The BJP’s speed and zeal to act after the original magistrate order depict their lightning speed when they are motivated by political animosity. Their completely misplaced statements about the OBC community have backfired on them,” the veteran Congress leader said.

“The whole community and the whole of India see the BJP as misusing and encashing the entire OBC community for narrow, cheap political gains,” he added.

The Congress leader also said that the voice of Rahul Gandhi is not to be silenced in the manner the BJP thinks it can do.

“The BJP has been captured in a fear psychosis. If anyone thinks that Rahul Gandhi’s voice will stop or waver, he neither knows Rahul Gandhi nor understands Congress. Rahul Gandhi speaks clearly and truthfully. He will put his voice strongly in front of everyone,” Singhvi said.

On April 3, Rahul Gandhi’s lawyer filed two applications, along with his main appeal, against the lower court’s order sentencing him to two years in jail, one for bail and another for a stay on conviction pending his appeal.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said it is a “politically motivated” case. “We have full faith in the judiciary,” he added.

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