Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years in jail by a local court in Gujarat’s Surat on Thursday, in a criminal defamation case filed against him over his remark on the “Modi surname”.
The case is based on a complaint filed by Gujarat MLA Purnesh Modi, who charged that Gandhi, while addressing a poll rally in 2019 in Karnataka, defamed the entire Modi community by saying “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?”
Following the verdict in the defamation case, Kanchan Gupta, senior adviser, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said Rahul Gandhiis staring at disqualification as a member of Parliament because he was convicted in a criminal case and handed a two-year prison term.
In a series of tweets, Kanchan Gupta explained why the Wayanad MP faces “immediate disqualification” as per a landmark Supreme Court judgment of July 10, 2013.
In the Lily Thomas vs Union of India case, the top court ruled that ‘any MP, MLA or MLC who is convicted of a crime and given a minimum of two years’ jail, loses membership of the House with immediate effect, Gupta pointed out.
He said, “Supreme Court of India’s 10 July 2013 judgment negates previous position which allowed convicted MPs, MLAs, MLCs to retain their seats until they had exhausted all judicial remedy in lower, state and Supreme Court of India.”
“Supreme Court of India’s 10 July 2013 judgment had struck down Section 8(4) of Representation of the People Act, which allowed elected representatives three months to appeal their conviction, as ‘unconstitutional’,” he said.
Kanchan Gupta cited the example of Samajwadi Party MLA Azam Khan, was immediately disqualified from the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly after a trial court convicted him to two years imprisonment in a criminal case.
“In a democracy, nobody, absolutely nobody is above the law. All are equal. The law, therefore, equally applies to Rahul Gandhi,” he summed up.
With the verdict out, the Gandhi scion will not go to jail immediately — he has been given bail for 30 days and can file an appeal against his conviction.
The Congress tweeted that Gandhi will file an appeal and “we will fight and win”.
While Gandhi has not commented publicly yet, he tweeted a quote in Hindi from Mahatma Gandhi: “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, and non-violence the means to get it.”