Another ‘Gandhi’ struggling against disqualification in court

Rahul Gandhi

After almost 48 years, the Supreme Court is now going to hear another ‘Gandhi’ disqualification case. The Supreme Court will hear Rahul Gandhi’s petition against Gujarat High Court in the Modi surname case on Friday. In fact, in June 1975, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi challenged the decision of the Allahabad High Court in the Supreme Court. The Allahabad High Court had nullified the election of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and disqualified her from contesting elections for six years. Both the cases have reached the Supreme Court from the High Court. The only difference is that at that time, there was a case of electoral corruption on Indira Gandhi and now there is a case of ‘Modi-chor’ for uttering derogatory words to a particular community. Indira Gandhi also did not accept her mistake and Rahul Gandhi too till now did not show any Regret. Indira Gandhi had power in her hands and she was the ruler But Rahul Gandhi at present currently is a suspended MP.

Indira Gandhi Vs Raj Narayan
Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narayan case is a very well-known case of Political History. Raj Narayan was a freedom fighter and opposition leader who contested the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat against Indira Gandhi in the 1971 general election. Indira Gandhi won the election with a huge margin and her party won the general election. Raj Narayan filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court alleging that Indira Gandhi used her powers as prime minister to employ government machinery and resources to win elections. Not only this, he alleged that Indira Gandhi misused government employees for her propaganda.
Four years later, in 1975, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha, a judge of the Allahabad High Court, held that Gandhi was guilty of corrupt practice, and the court in its order annulled her election. Not only this, the court disqualified him from Parliament and banned him from contesting elections for six years. Indira Gandhi appealed against this order in the Supreme Court.
The matter came up before Justice VR Krishna Iyer, who was conducting the court during the annual summer vacation in June 1975. He stayed the order subject to certain conditions, and soon after Gandhi declared an emergency. In November 1975, the Supreme Court overturned the Allahabad High Court’s decision, which eventually led to Indira Gandhi remaining Prime Minister of India.

Rahul Gandhi vs Purnesh Modi
Rahul Gandhi has also moved the Supreme Court challenging the July 7 order of the Gujarat High Court, saying that if the order is not stayed, it will end “free speech, free thought”. On July 7, a single-judge bench of the Gujarat High Court dismissed Gandhi’s plea to stay his sentence in the defamation case.
Justice Hemant Prachhak of the Gujarat High Court, while rejecting his petition, had remarked, ‘Now is the need of the hour for purity in politics.” The court also emphasized that stay on conviction is not a norm but an exception to be granted only in rare cases. In this, no proper ground was found to ban Gandhi’s sentence’.
Purnesh Modi, a former minister in the Gujarat government, had filed a criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi for his remarks. Rahul poses during an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka on April 13, 2019, said “How come Modi is the common surname of all thieves?” He also called Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi and Narendra Modi.

Courts Order
On March 23 this year, a metropolitan magistrate court of Surat gave Rahul Gandhi an opportunity to express regret before convicting him under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for criminal defamation, but Rahul Gandhi did not regret. In its order, the court convicted Rahul Gandhi and sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison. Following the verdict, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla disqualified him as a Member of Parliament under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
Rahul Gandhi later challenged the order in a sessions court in Surat and requested to stay the conviction. The important fact is that here also Rahul Gandhi has not expressed regret for his statement. On April 20, the sessions court refused to grant a stay, following which he had to approach the high court. Even in the High Court, Rahul Gandhi’s counsel continued to question the freedom of expression, legality of the complainant but did not express regret for his alleged derogatory words. The position is the same in the Supreme Court. There are some regrettable words missing in the nearly 750-page writ petition.