Rahul Gandhi convicted for Modi’s “thieves” remark
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was jailed for labeling Modi “thieves”. Rahul Gandhi, the leader of India’s opposition party, was given a two-year prison sentence for criminal defamation. In 2019, at an election rally, a Congress member said things about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last name that was not nice.
Mr. Gandhi went to the sentencing, and he is out on bail for 30 days. Moreover, he plans to appeal. His party said that Mr. Modi’s government was out to get him. The general election will be next year.
The spokesman for Congress said that the ruling was “legally impossible”. However, he said that we will see no silence among the party’s lawmakers. At a press conference, Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Make no mistake: all your efforts to chill, strangle, and strangle free, fearless dialogue about public influence will not stop Rahul Gandhi or the Congress Party.”
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) says that the election campaign matter was consequently handled according to the law.
In April 2019, Mr. Gandhi asked at a rally in Karnataka, “Why do all these thieves have the last name, Modi? Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi?”
Lalit Modi was a commissioner for the Indian Premier League before being banned for life. Nirav Modi is a successful diamond businessman. Mr. Gandhi thinks he said that to bring attention to corruption and not to hurt anyone.
Purnesh Modi, an MP for the BJP, sued Mr. Gandhi, saying that he slandered the whole Modi community.
the Surat court. created confusion among several experts when it gave its decision. Gautam Bhatia, a legal expert, says that “references to a generic class of people,” such as surnames, are not “actionable” unless a person can show that the reference is direct to them.
“If a man says, ‘All lawyers are thieves,’:
Mr. Bhatia said, “If a man says, ‘All lawyers are thieves,’ I as a lawyer can’t sue him for defamation unless I can show that he was talking about me.”
Kirit Panwala, Mr. Gandhi’s lawyer, told BBC Gujarati that their defense had four points: “First, Mr. Gandhi does not live in Gujarat, so an investigation should be done before the complaint; second, there is no community named Modi; third, there is no group of people with the surname Modi; and fourth, Mr. Gandhi did not mean any harm with his speech.”
In India, criminal defamation laws from the British era significantly allow for up to two years in jail, a fine, or both. Free speech advocates have claimed that governments use the legislation to silence critics. Mr. Gandhi and other Indian lawmakers petitioned to decriminalize defamation in 2016. India’s Supreme Court upheld the ban, saying that the “right to free expression cannot mean that a person can insult the other.”
After the conviction, several questioned Mr. Gandhi’s parliamentarian status:
Defamation cannot disqualify in India. MPs can be ousted for inciting hate or electoral fraud. However, if convicted of a crime that carries a two-year term, they can be disqualified.
If imprisoned for two years, Mr. Gandhi could not run in the 2024 general election.
An anonymous political pundit predicts that the Supreme Court will suspend the judgment. “Does this judgment suggest that a sword of Damocles hangs over any leader?
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