Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday filed a petition in the apex court challenging the Gujarat High Court’s refusal to stay his conviction in the criminal defamation case over ‘Modi Surname’. Following Gandhi’s statements on Modi’s last name during a 2019 Karnataka election rally, BJP Gujarat MLA Purnesh Modi filed a criminal defamation lawsuit against Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi was found guilty by the Surat court and given a two-year term as well as a fine. Both the Surat district court and the Gujarat High Court disapproved of Rahul Gandhi and refused to overturn the sentence or provide any sort of respite. The conviction in the case led to Rahul’s disqualification as Lok Sabha MP
The Rahul Gandhi camp had been holding off on challenging the conviction till the Supreme Court’s summer recess was over. Purnesh Modi, in the meantime, has submitted a caveat to the Supreme Court, requesting that his views be taken into consideration when Rahul Gandhi or any other interested party challenges the Gujarat High Court’s ruling. The proviso emphasized that Purnesh Modi must be given a chance to submit his case before the court may rule.
On March 23, Rahul Gandhi was found guilty of violating Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) in a case brought by BJP Gujarat MLA Purnesh Modi. The court sentenced Gandhi to two years in prison. The MLA had sued Gandhi for criminal defamation after he asked, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” on April 13, 2019, at an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka.
Gandhi filed a petition for a stay of the conviction and contested the judgment in a Surat sessions court. On April 20, the court granted him bail but declined to suspend the conviction; as a result, he went to the high court.