New Delhi: In a major setback to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the Gujarat High Court on Friday upheld the Sessions Court’s order, and denied a stay on his conviction in the criminal defamation case over his ‘Modi surname’ remark.
Rahul Gandhi will not be able to contest elections or seek revocation of the suspension of his status as a Member of Parliament (MP). He can appeal the High Court order in Supreme Court. A stay to the conviction would have paved the way for Gandhi’s reinstatement as a Member of Parliament.
In May, Gandhi had sought interim relief from the High Court, but the court postponed its final decision until after the summer vacation, which concluded three weeks ago.
On March 23, Gandhi was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for a speech he made during an election campaign at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019.. The case was filed by Purnesh Modi, a BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister, in response to Rahul Gandhi’s statement: “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?”
Following the verdict, Gandhi, elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala in 2019, was disqualified as a Member of Parliament. He challenged the order in a sessions court in Surat along with an application seeking a stay to the conviction. While granting him bail, the court on April 20 refused to stay the conviction.