Rahul Gandhi disqualified as MP after conviction in defamation case
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified as a Member of Lok Sabha following his conviction in the criminal defamation case over his remarks about PM Narendra Modi's surname in 2019, ANI reported. On Thursday, a Gujarat court found Gandhi guilty and sentenced him to two years in prison. He was given bail for 30 days and was permitted to appeal the judgment.
Why does this story matter?
- The defamation case against Gandhi was filed in Gujarat, the BJP's heartland.
- The Congress has called the case a ploy by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to stifle the Opposition.
- Prior to Gandhi's disqualification, the BJP had also called for his suspension from the Lok Sabha for allegedly defaming India in his United Kingdom (UK) statements about the BJP government's purported suppression of dissent.
Gandhi's disqualification order issued by Secretary General of Lok Sabha
According to the order issued by Lok Sabha Secretary-General, Utpal Kumar Singh, Gandhi, who represents the Wayanad Parliamentary constituency of Kerala, stands disqualified from the house from the date of his conviction i.e March 23, 2023. The order invoked the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) of the Indian Constitution, read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to make the decision.
Rahul Gandhi's disqualification order shared on Twitter
Congress leader found guilty under Section 499, 500 of IPC
On Thursday, the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Varma found Gandhi guilty under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). A fine of Rs. 15,000 was also imposed upon him apart from the sentence. Subsequently, he was granted bail in the case, and his sentence was suspended to enable him to appeal within 30 days.
What is 2019 defamation case against Gandhi?
In 2019, while launching an attack on PM Modi, who was running for a second term at the time, Gandhi said in Karnataka's Kolar district, "Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi...How come all the thieves have Modi as a common surname?" A BJP legislator from Surat (West), Purnesh Modi, took offense and filed a complaint, accusing Gandhi of defaming the whole Modi community.