2 May 2023 11:08 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court today reserved its orders in the plea filed by 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 Bench of Justice Hemant Prachchhak also refuses to grant any interim protection to Rahul Gandhi as sought by his counsel Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi. The...
The Gujarat High Court today reserved its orders in the plea filed by 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 Bench of Justice Hemant Prachchhak also refuses to grant any interim protection to Rahul Gandhi as sought by his counsel Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi. The decision on whether a stay would be granted on his conviction would be delivered by the bench post-High Court vacations.
The arguments were reserved after hearing Senior Advocate Nirupam Nanvaty (for the Complainant-Purnnesh Modi) and Senior Advocate Abhishek Sighvi (for Rahul Gandhi).
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 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 Cpurt on March 23, he conducted a press conference wherein he called the conviction a 'Gift' for him.
In this regard, Sr. Adv. Nanvaty read out a news report concerning a press conference conducted by Gandhi wherein he allegedly 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 wont apologise), then don't come here in Court with your prayers. He should not be a crybaby. Either stick to your stand made in public or say that your intention was something else," he added.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate Abhishek Sighvi (for Rahul Gandhi) strongly argued before the bench of Justice Hemant M. Prachchhak that the alleged offence did not involve the element of moral turpitude, it was a non-cognizable, bailable and non-serious offence and therefore, the conviction should be suspended.
He also argued that the Court should see that in Gandhi's case, the factor of the irreversibility of the situation is involved as being an elected MP, he has lost his right to be a representative of the people due to the conviction, a situation which is irreversible.
"He will lose the present session, the next session, meetings...There is a loss to him, he loses the right to represent the voice of people. The people of the constituency lose their voice. The entire right of collectivity "we the people" is lost.
Importantly, Senior Advocate Singhvi also argued that a speech given during the election campaign will attract Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution with fuller powers. He added that the flower of this provision needs a fuller bloom as is a free speech right.
Having heard the arguments of both sides, the Court reserved its verdict.