A court in Gujarat’s Surat city on Thursday rejected Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s application for a stay on his conviction in a criminal defamation case over his ”Modi surname” remark.
The court of additional sessions judge R P Mogera rejected Gandhi’s application filed for a relief pending his appeal against a lower court’s order sentencing him to two years in jail in the case. Gandhi had on April 3 approached the sessions court for appeal against the lower court’s order. A stay on conviction by the sessions court could have paved the way for Gandhi’s reinstatement as the Member of Parliament.
Gandhi approached the sessions court for appeal after the lower court sentenced him to two years in jail while convicting him for criminal defamation over his remark, ”How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” made during an election rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019. His lawyers had filed two applications, one for a stay on the sentence (or bail till the disposal of his appeal) and another for stay on conviction till the disposal of his appeal.
The 52-year-old politician was elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala in 2019, but was disqualified a day after the lower court sentenced him to two years in jail in the case filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Purnesh Modi under sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.
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While granting bail to Gandhi, the court had issued notices to complainant MLA Modi and the state government on the Congress leader’s plea for a stay on conviction. The sessions court will continue its hearing on Gandhi’s main plea against the lower court’s order.