2 May 2023 12:04 PM GMT
While refusing to grant any interim relief to Congress leader and disqualified MP Rahul Gandhi in his criminal revision plea filed seeking a stay on his conviction in the 'Modi-Thieves' remark case, the Gujarat High Court today concluded hearing in the matter reserved its orders.The verdict was reserved by the bench of Justice Hemant Prachchhak after hearing at length the arguments made by...
While refusing to grant any interim relief to Congress leader and disqualified MP Rahul Gandhi in his criminal revision plea filed seeking a stay on his conviction in the 'Modi-Thieves' remark case, the Gujarat High Court today concluded hearing in the matter reserved its orders.
The verdict was reserved by the bench of Justice Hemant Prachchhak after hearing at length the arguments made by Senior Advocate Nirupam Nanvaty (for the Complainant-Purnesh Modi) and Senior Advocate Abhishek Sighvi (for Rahul Gandhi).
The bench clarified that the verdict would be pronounced post-summer break of the High Court. As per the HC Calender, May 5 is the last working day for the High Court and it is set to reopen on June 5.
Arguments advanced by the Senior Counsel Nirupam Nanavaty for the Complainant-Purnesh Modi
During the hearing today, Senior Advocate Nirupam Nanavati, appearing for the complainant, Purnesh Modi argued against allowing the plea of Gandhi for a stay on his connection as he said that the disqualified MP was adopting double standards as he has different takes on the conviction in the public and before the Court.
He submitted in the Court that Gandhi has shown no remorse for his statements ("why all thieves share Modi Surname") made in 2019 in a public rally in Karnataka's Kolar and in fact, after he was convicted by the Surat Court on March 23, he conducted a press conference wherein he called the conviction a 'Gift' for him.
In this regard, Sr. Adv. Nanavaty read out a news report concerning a press conference conducted by Gandhi wherein he allegedly said that I am Gandhi, not Savarkar and won't apologise and this (conviction) was the best gift
"Even after his conviction by the Surat Court, he did not stop from making comments. He (Rahul Gandhi) said that he is not scared of sentence, prison and that he is not going to back down even if disqualified for the rest of his life. This is his public stand. He also said that he has been given the best gift ever, so then, why is he scared now? You should keep this gift with you...But before the Court, his stand is different."
Senior Counsel Nanvaty further submitted that in case Gandhi doesn't want to apologise, he should not apologise as this is his right, but then he should not make hue and cry.
"If this is your stand (that you won't apologise), then don't come here in Court with your prayers. He should not be a crybaby that your political career is stake, etc. Either stick to your stand made in public or say that your intention was something else," he added.
Before the Court, Senior Advocate Nanavaty contended that Gandhi was not disqualified by Court or by the Complainant but by the operation of a law made by Parliament and hence, he can not argue that he is suffering an irreversible loss.
He further submitted that Gandhi's plea should not be allowed as the Court should consider the seriousness of the offence and its probable impact on the victim and society at large. He also said that the endeavour must be to maintain the sanctity and dignity of the Parliament which has made a law barring an individual from being a member of Parliament, on his conviction of 2 or more years.
Senior Counsel Nanavaty also questioned the act of Rahul Gandhi saying in Court that he doesn't remember the exact words he spoke during the rally and thereafter, calling the statements attributed to him to be false.
He also contended that this is not the first application filed by Gandhi before the Court for a stay on his conviction, and the plea first came before the Appellate Court (Sessions Court Surat), and the said court has already adjudicated upon the same by rejecting the same.
Importantly, he strongly argued that Gandhi's conduct should be taken into account by the Court as he mentioned that several complaints have been filed against him including complaints before the Pune Court and the Lucknow Court for his allegedly derogatory/defamatory remarks.
"He is the leader of a National Political Party which has ruled the country for 40 years, but if he is making such statements, then he must now learn a lesson. He did not even say sorry. No explanation was given by him. Nothing."
He further argued that the offence involves moral turpitude, "When you say all Modi are thieves, is it not moral turpitude? What message are you giving to the word? That an opposition leader of India brands his Prime Minister as a thief before thousands of people, is it the language?"
Against this backdrop, calling the offence to be a serious one involving moral turpitude, Senior Counsel Nanavaty prayed before the Court that Gandhi's application for a stay on conviction should not be allowed.