Justice Hemant Prachchhak rejected the appeal and said that the lower court’s decision to sentence Gandhi was “just, proper, and legal” despite the fact that Gandhi is already involved in ten other judicial proceedings around India. Congressman Rahul Gandhi’s request for a stay of execution in a criminal defamation action stemming from his remark about the “Modi surname” was denied by the Gujarat High Court on Friday. Justice Hemant Prachchhak rejected the appeal while pointing out that Gandhi is already involved in 10 cases in different parts of India and that the lower court’s decision to convict the Congress leader was “just, proper, and legal”.
The HC stated that there is no justifiable grounds for the conviction to be overturned. Gandhi would have been able to return to the Parliament if the conviction had been overturned. On March 23, Gandhi was found guilty of violating Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) in a case brought by BJP Gujarat MLA Purnesh Modi, and was given a two-year prison sentence. The MLA has filed a criminal defamation action against Gandhi over his “how come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” statement made on April 13, 2019, at an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka.
A delaying of conviction should only be used in exceptional circumstances, according to single-judge Justice Hemant Prachchhak. “At least 10 criminal cases are pending against him. Even after the present case, some more cases filed against him. Representatives of people should remain of clear character. One such is filed by grandson of Veer Savarkar in a court in Pune as accused used defamational (sic) terms against Veer Savarkar in Cambridge. In another case, complaints was also filed in a court in Lucknow,” the judge stated.
The bench further stated that no case was made to stay the conviction given the circumstances of the particular case. “In anyway, conviction would not result in any injustice to the applicant. The conviction order is just, proper and legal. There is no need to interfere with the said order. Therefore, the application is dismissed,” the Court held. The Magistrate court conviction was not overturned by the sessions judge, which resulted in the current High Court petition. Due to his conviction in the case, Rahul Gandhi had been disqualified from the Lok Sabha. The Gujarat High Court’s ruling from today would result in the disqualification continuing.