Sunday, July 14, 2024

‘Court procedures are used for political agendas’: Sibal slams conviction after SC relief to Rahul

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With the Supreme Court staying Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in a defamation case, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal on Saturday said he had stated earlier that the conviction was unwarranted and rued that “court procedures are used for political agendas.”

Gandhi on Friday got a huge relief from the Supreme Court after it stayed his conviction in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his Modi surname remark and paved the way for his reinstatement as a Lok Sabha MP.

The stay which will also enable Gandhi, 53, to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections was given on the grounds that the trial court in Surat in Gujarat failed to explain why he deserved the maximum two-year punishment upon his conviction that led to his disqualification from the Lower House of Parliament.

In a tweet, Sibal said, “Supreme Court stays Rahul’s conviction. On the day Rahul was convicted I publicly said the conviction is unwarranted and will not stand. The reason I gave is what the Supreme Court said yesterday.”

“Unfortunate that court procedures are used for political agendas!” he said.On Friday, the top court, while granting Gandhi the relief, said no reason was given by the trial court judge while convicting him except that he was admonished by the apex court in a contempt case. The SC bench also noted that the sentence would not have attracted disqualification had it been a day lesser.

“Had the sentence been a day lesser, provisions would not have been attracted, particularly when an offence is non-cognisable, bailable and compoundable,” the SC bench had said.

It said the least the trial court judge was expected to do was give some reasons for imposing the maximum sentence provided under the defamation act that led to Gandhi being awarded a term of two years in jail, having attracted the provisions of the electoral law that envisages automatic disqualification of an MLA or MP sentenced to two years in jail.

The apex court also noted that the appellate court and high court did not consider these aspects while passing orders denying Gandhi relief.

Sibal, who was a Union minister during UPA I and II, quit the Congress in May last year and was elected to the Rajya Sabha as an Independent member with the Samajwadi Party’s support. He has floated a non-electoral platform ‘Insaaf’ aimed at fighting injustice.

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