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Rahul Gandhi Convicted in Defamation Case, Disqualified as Lok Sabha MP

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By- Mariyam Qureshi 

26 March 2023

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was found guilty of criminal defamation on March 23rd for his alleged comments against the surname "Modi" by a Surat court.

Rahul Gandhi, the Wayanad MP was declared disqualified based on a statement from the Lok Sabha secretariat. Rahul Gandhi was convicted of criminal defamation under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Criminal Code on March 23, 2023, and was sentenced to two years in prison with a fine of Rs. 15,000.

The court granted him bail to appeal the ruling while also suspending his sentence for 30 days but not his conviction. Following the conviction, Gandhi was declared ineligible to serve in parliament by a notification from the Lok Sabha secretariat on March 24.

Gandhi was found guilty due to his remarks at a pre-election event in Kolar, Karnataka, in 2019. “I have a question,” he is said to have said, “Why do they all – all of these robbers — have the name, Modi Modi Modi? Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi, and Nirav Modi. And if we look a little harder, we'll find a lot more Modis like this.”

Following the allegedly inflammatory comments, BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister, Purnesh Modi, filed a complaint against Gandhi. Furthermore, using Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Criminal Code (IPC), the Gujarat Police filed a First Information Report (FIR).

On Friday, March 24, Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a defamation case by a Surat court for his purported comments on the surname "Modi." With effect from March 23, 2023, the Wayanad MP was disqualified, according to a notification from the Lok Sabha secretariat.

Disqualification for conviction in criminal prosecutions is provided by the Representation of the People Act of 1951. It stipulates disqualification in the circumstances of crimes like rape, terrorism, racial strife, etc. A legislator in these situations can be removed from Parliament with just a conviction.

The Representation of the People Act, 1951, Section 8(3) states that if an MP, MLA, or MLC is convicted of any crime and receives a sentence of at least two years, he is disqualified and "shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release." If the conviction and sentence are not overturned, Gandhi could be prevented from running for office for at least six years. The conviction is likely to be challenged in a sessions court as well as before the High Court and Supreme Court if need be. In addition, Section 8(4) says that a disqualification "must not take effect" until the appellate court has ruled on the legislator's appeal of the decision. But this appeal must be filed within three months.

A member of the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha may be removed from office under five conditions, as stated in Article 102 of the Constitution: holding a position of profit, insanity, insolvency, citizenship, and removal by law. The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution allows for disqualification for "defection," which is the abandonment of one's political poverty.

Until his conviction is overturned by a higher court, Rahul is ineligible according to current law.

Edited By- Adedamola

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Tags: Gujarat MP Rahul Gandhi Lok Sabha Defamation PM disqualification


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