‘Modi surname remark’: Attitude of Rahul Gandhi reveals arrogant entitlement; doesn’t deserves stay on conviction, complainant to SC

Public TV English
Public TV English
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NEW DELHI: The complainant in Rahul Gandhi’s criminal defamation case in which he was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail by the Surat court over the ‘Modi surname’ remark, told the Supreme Court on Monday that attitude of Congress leader reveals arrogant entitlement and he doesn’t deserve any relief in form of stay on his conviction.

Gandhi has shown arrogance rather than being apologetic over his remarks and his attitude ranked as insensitivity to an offended community and contempt for the law, the apex court was informed.

“At the time of sentencing before the Trial Court, the Petitioner far from being repentant or contrite, displayed arrogance. He said he did not seek any mercy from the Court and would not apologise for any harm to the reputation of the persons he had defamed. Subsequent to the order of conviction and sentence, in a press conference, the Petitioner said that he would never apologise in this case as he was not a Savarkar, but a Gandhi,” stated the affidavit filed by complaint Purnesh Ishwarbhai Modi.

The affidavit further submitted, “The attitude of the Petitioner disentitles him to any relief in the form of a stay of conviction as it reveals arrogant entitlement, rank insensitivity to an offended community and contempt for the law.”

Seeking dismissal of Gandhi’s appeal, the complainant said, the Congress leader maligned a totally blameless class of persons by his reckless and malicious words.

Earlier, the apex court sought a response from the Gujarat government and complainant on an appeal of Gandhi challenging the Gujarat High Court order which declined to stay his conviction in the criminal defamation case.

After his conviction in the case, Gandhi was declared disqualified as MP from Kerala’s Wayanad on March 24 following notification of the Lok Sabha Secretariat.

Gandhi was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment which disqualified him as an MP under the rigours of the Representation of People Act.

Approaching the top court, Gandhi also sought a stay of the Gujarat High Court verdict which upheld his conviction. He said the High Court verdict “has no parallel or precedent in the jurisprudence of the law of defamation”.

He contended that it was “not only curious but extremely significant, indeed sinister, that all earlier cases, including the one regarding the present speech, were filed by members and office bearers of the ruling party”.

It was submitted that the surname ‘Modi’, in different parts of the country, encompassed different communities and sub-communities, which usually have no commonality or uniformity at all. The Modi surname belonged to various castes.

The complainant, Gujarat BJP MLA Purnesh Ishwarbhai Modi who simply has a ‘Modi’ surname, did not prove that he was prejudiced or damaged in any specific or personal sense, the plea filed in the apex court added.

Gandhi’s plea said, “Unprecedentedly, in a case of criminal defamation, a maximum sentence of two years has been imposed. This itself is a rarest of rare occurrence.”

The High Court on July 7 affirmed the decision of a Gujarat Sessions court, which had refused to put on hold a magisterial court order on March 23 convicting Gandhi and handing out the maximum punishment provided for criminal defamation under the Indian Penal Code.
Rejecting Gandhi’s plea, the High Court has said that he has been seeking a stay on his conviction on “absolutely non-existent grounds” and a stay on conviction is not a rule but an exception.

In March, the magisterial court convicted Gandhi for his remarks ahead of the 2019 national polls about the ‘Modi’ surname.

After the magisterial court convicted Gandhi, he approached the Sessions court, which rejected his plea for a stay on his conviction on April 20. Thereafter, he approached the High Court.

Congress leader was sentenced to two years in jail on March 23 under sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in a case filed by Purnesh Modi.

At a rally in Karnataka’s Kolar in April 2019, Rahul Gandhi, in a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said, “How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?”. (ANI)

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