Rahul cites 6 grounds to seek stay on defamation conviction in Gujarat HC

According to the Congress leader's legal representative, the complaint cannot be maintained as the offense is a personal one. and entertaining the complaint would be a mockery of the defamation law.

Rahul Gandhi conviction, Surat sessions court trial
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a file photo

During the hearing of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s revision application in a criminal defamation case in the Gujarat High Court on Saturday, his legal counsel presented six basic grounds on which the former MP could seek a stay on his conviction.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that Rahul’s conviction did not constitute an offense of moral turpitude or a serious offense as per various judgments.

The judgments that the Surat sessions court relied on while rejecting Rahul’s plea for a stay on his conviction would actually benefit the Congress leader as they were for serious offenses such as murder, abduction, and rape, Singhvi said.

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Singhvi further argued that the court, by denying Rahul’s plea for a stay on his conviction in such a case of criminal defamation, would be “rewriting” the scope of section 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

He also touched on the jurisdiction and locus of the complainant, Purnesh Modi, and argued that Rahul’s statement in Kolar, Karnataka, did not invoke any identifiable class of people and that none of the people named in the statement was the complainant in the case.

Singhvi further submitted that the defamation complaint was non-maintainable as the offense was “in personam” and created a jurisdictional bar. He argued that entertaining the complaint would make a mockery of the defamation law.

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Singhvi also presented several points to argue that the trial was vitiated, including the fact that the Surat court had handed Rahul the maximum punishment after conducting a hearing on the punishment aspect for only 10 minutes.