On Thursday, a sessions court in Surat announced that it would rule on Rahul Gandhi’s request for a stay of conviction in a criminal defamation case stemming from his remark about the “Modi surname” on April 20.
Judge R P Mogera of the Additional Sessions stated that he would issue the order on April 20 after listening to the arguments from both sides.
Earlier in a swift verdict Congress leader was found guilty of making a comment
Gandhi has appealed the decision to the sessions court after being found guilty and after losing his status as a Member of Parliament as a result.
In the interim, he pleaded for the conviction to be suspended as well.
With in 24 hours Rahul Gandhi was barred from serving in the Lok Sabha as a member of Parliament as a result of his conviction.
Also his constituency in Kerala where he was elected was declared vacant on the vey next date
Rahul also asked to vacate his given quarters where he resided for more than a decade
Rahul had appealed his conviction, calling it “erroneous” and “clearly perverse.”
His attorneys contended that the trial was “not fair” and that the case did not call for the harshest penalty possible.
On Thursday, Gandhi’s lawyer senior advocate R.S. Cheema told sessions judge R.P. Mogera that the trial court need not have awarded the maximum punishment prescribed for the offence. The magistrate’s judgement was “strange” as he “made a hotchpotch of all the evidence on record”, Cheema argued.
“It was not a fair trial. The entire case was based on electronic evidence, wherein I made a speech during elections and a person sitting 100 km away filed a complaint after watching that in the news… There was no need for maximum punishment in this case,” he said.
The complainant wrongly attached Gandhi’s unconditional apology to the Supreme Court (in the Rafale-related contempt case) to this case, the lawyer said.
Purnesh Modi’s lawyer Harshit Toliya said his client felt offended because Gandhi had tried to defame all people with the Modi surname.
“He was the president of the second largest party at the time of making the speech. His speech made a huge impact on the people of India and he also tried to sensationalise his speech,” Toliya argued.
“In his speech, Rahul Gandhi spoke about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But he did not stop there and went beyond it. He said ‘Saare choron ke naam Modi hi kyu hai? Dhoondho, aur bhi Modi milenge. [Why do all thieves have the Modi surname? If you search, you will find more Modis.]’ My client was hurt by this part of the speech and thus the complaint,” the lawyer added.
Gandhi also refused to apologise for his remarks, he pointed out.
Gandhi made the controversial “Modi surname” remark at a rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019, during the Lok Sabha elections campaign.
Referring to Gandhi’s lawyer’s argument about jurisdiction (as the speech had been made in Karnataka), Toliya said no objection was raised on this issue during the trial.