The Lok Sabha Secretariat on Friday that is 24th March decided to disqualify former Congress president Rahul Gandhi from his position of Lok Sabha member from Wayanad.

The notification stated that “Consequent upon his conviction by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat in CC/18712/2019, Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction ie. 23 March, 2023.”

This comes just a day after he was convicted by the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Surat in regard to the criminal defamation case over the remarks he made over the ‘Modi’ surname.

Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Verma gave out the verdict for a 2019 defamation case against Gandhi saying “I have a question. Why do all of them — all of these thieves — have Modi Modi Modi in their names? Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi. And if we search a bit more, many more Modis will come out,” during a rally in Kolar, Karnataka for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Gandhi was given a prison sentence of two years under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which states punishment for defamation as being simple imprisonment for a “term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

Soon after though, the former Congress leader was given bail and suspension of his sentence for 30 days to let him appeal the decision at a higher court.

However, now it remains to be seen what will Rahul Gandhi do next?

Overturning Conviction

The first move should ideally be to get his conviction suspended or overturned, probably by a higher court.

This is because he was reportedly disqualified as a Lok Sabha member and lawmaker under The Representation of The People Act (RPA), 1951 which lets lawmakers be disqualified from their seats for conviction in criminal cases.

Now what the RPA is made up of several sections, out of this Section 8 deals with, according to an Indian Express report “disqualification for conviction of offences. The provision is aimed at “preventing criminalisation of politics” and keeping ‘tainted’ lawmakers from contesting elections.”

Read More: Why BJP Won The Tripura Elections?

Now, as per reports due to his disqualification, Rahul Gandhi will apparently be “barred from contesting elections for the next eight years,” unless he gets this conviction overturned by a higher court.

Reports believe this should be the first step for Gandhi if he hopes to be able to contest in the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.

Other Similar Cases

Other steps could be to use similar cases that have been previously squashed by the Supreme Court such as these. One could be the Manoj Tiwari vs Manish Sisodia case where BJP leaders Tiwari and Vijender Gupta had opposed the defamation case summons from a Delhi court filed by the former Delhi deputy CM.

As per reports Gupta had said something along the lines of exposing the scam, Tiwari had accused Sisodia of corruption of Rs. 2,000 crores. The SC in its verdict in October 2022 had revoked the case and stated that “We are afraid that even if a person belonging to a political party had challenged a person holding public office by stating ‘I will expose your scam’, the same may not amount to defamation.

Defamatory statement should be specific and not very vague and general. The essential ingredient of Section 499 is that the imputation made by the accused should have the potential to harm the reputation of the person against whom the imputation is made.”

Reports have also claimed that BJP ministers and all have also been involved in statements that could be seen as defamatory, such as calling Rahul Gandhi himself ‘Pappu’ or using the term ‘Maunmohan Singh’ for former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Now, after this whole case with Gandhi, Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury has stated that she too plans on filing a defamation case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for calling her ‘Surpanakha’ during a 2018 address on on the floor of the House.

Chowdhury in a tweet posted an 8-second clip of PM Modi calling her that word during a budget session in Parliament and wrote that “This classless megalomaniac referred to me as Surpanakha on the floor of the house. I will file a defamation case against him. Let’s see how fast courts will act now…”

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Livemint, The Indian Express, The Hindu

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: rahul Gandhi lok sabha, rahul Gandhi defamation, rahul Gandhi lok sabha member, Rahul Gandhi defamation case, Rahul Gandhi conviction, Rahul Gandhi jail, Rahul Gandhi election, Rahul Gandhi modi case, Rahul Gandhi modi surname

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