The Gujarat High Court said on Saturday that it will resume hearing the appeal of Congress leader and former MP Rahul Gandhi against his conviction in a criminal defamation case on May 2.
Rahul Gandhi was convicted in March by a metropolitan magistrate’s court in Surat for making a remark about the ‘Modi surname’ during campaigning in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The matter is being heard by Justice Hemant Prachchhak after Justice Geeta Gopi recused herself from the case. Senior Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi is appearing on Rahul Gandhi’s behalf.
Rahul Gandhi had filed a criminal revision application in the Gujarat High Court challenging the order of the Surat sessions court declining a stay on his conviction. He was sentenced to two years in jail, which led to the disqualification of his Lok Sabha membership.
If the high court allows his plea, it could pave the way for Rahul Gandhi’s reinstatement as a Member of Parliament.
After his conviction, the Congress was granted bail and given 30 days to file an appeal.
In his appeal, Rahul Gandhi claimed that the court treated him harshly and was influenced by his status as an MP. The judge disagreed with Rahul Gandhi’s argument, stating that he had “failed to show that by not staying the conviction and denying an opportunity to contest the election, an irreversible and irrevocable damage will be caused to him”.