In a significant turn of events, the parliamentary membership of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been reinstated following a recent decision by the Supreme Court. The apex court’s move to stay his conviction in a 2019 defamation case, centered around his ‘Modi surname’ remarks, has led to celebrations within the Congress party and among his supporters. A notification from the Lok Sabha secretariat has officially confirmed the revocation of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as a Lok Sabha member. This development has brought joy and jubilation to the party’s headquarters and the residence of Congress stalwart Sonia Gandhi.
The Supreme Court’s intervention came on August 4, temporarily suspending Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in the criminal defamation case. The case stemmed from his remarks questioning the prevalence of the “Modi surname,” which resulted in a two-year jail sentence. This sentence had automatically triggered the disqualification of his parliamentary membership.
The Supreme Court, while granting the stay, highlighted the absence of adequate justification from the trial judge in Surat for imposing the maximum sentence of two years. This decision ultimately paved the way for Rahul Gandhi’s restored parliamentary status. Rahul Gandhi had been serving as a Member of Parliament from the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala since 2019 before his disqualification in March of this year, following his conviction. The legal journey to this outcome involved a series of challenges and appeals. Rahul Gandhi’s plea reached the Supreme Court after the Gujarat High Court rejected his earlier petition, which sought to halt his conviction temporarily while his appeal to overturn the conviction was considered by the sessions court.
The defamation case had been filed by former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi in 2019, triggered by Rahul Gandhi’s comment during an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka. The Congress leader had rhetorically asked, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” In March, a Surat court convicted Rahul Gandhi and handed down a two-year prison sentence. Subsequently, his disqualification from Lok Sabha followed the next day. While the sessions court granted him bail on April 20 and agreed to hear his challenge to the conviction, it declined to stay the conviction itself.
Rahul Gandhi’s relentless legal efforts culminated in his plea to the Supreme Court on July 15, contesting the Gujarat High Court’s decision to uphold the sessions court’s refusal to suspend his conviction. This restoration of Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary membership serves as a turning point in his legal battle and has sparked celebrations, positioning him back on the political stage with renewed vigor and determination.