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SC Orders No Suspension Sought Stay On Conviction In Defamation Against Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi, a Congress leader and a former Member of Parliament (MP), filed a petition on Friday asking for the Supreme Court of India to suspend the criminal defamation conviction and two-year prison sentence that had been imposed on him by a Gujarat court.

Gandhi’s statement that “all thieves have the Modi surname” resulted in a criminal defamation action being filed against him.

The Gujarat government and Purnesh Ishwarbhai Modi, a Surat West resident who brought the lawsuit against Gandhi, have been asked to respond, and the matter has been scheduled for hearing on August 4.

Both Senior Advocates Mahesh Jethmalani and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who were representing Gandhi and the complainant respectively, jointly said they had no objections.

Singhvi asked for an early hearing date at the hearing today, arguing that Gandhi has wasted more than a hundred days in office and that the Wayanad constituency bye-elections may be announced shortly.

“The petitioner has endured 111 days of suffering. He has already lost one session of parliament. Wayanad would soon hold elections for the constituency of the parliament. Disqualification would not worry Jethmalani. A temporary suspension of disqualification may be granted, according to Singhvi.

In the meantime, Jethmalani has asked for 10 days to provide a response, claiming that he wants to record certain legal propositions.

Justices BR Gavai and Prashant Kumar Mishra’s bench declined to issue any orders requiring the respondents to be heard as well.

“Issue notice. Waive notice on behalf of respondent number 1. Mr Jethmalani for respondent 1 seeks 10 days time to file written submissions,” the court said.

Gandhi had appealed the Gujarat High Court’s decision to uphold his conviction and the two-year prison sentence imposed upon him by the Gujarat Magistrate court in a petition to the Supreme Court.

Gandhi was denied relief on July 7 by single-judge Justice Hemant Prachchhak, who claimed that staying a conviction is not a standard and should only be utilised in exceptional circumstances.

Gandhi was found guilty on March 23 by a Magistrate court in Surat for the comment he made in 2019 during an election rally in the Kolar constituency of Karnataka.

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