The Gujarat High Court on Friday refused to stay Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and two-year jail term in a criminal defamation case, which led to the loss of his Parliament membership.
The court ruled that granting a stay on conviction is an exception and not a rule.
The defamation case, which dates back to the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign, revolves around Gandhi’s comment, “How come all thieves have the common surname Modi.” This remark was interpreted as an attempt to draw an implicit connection between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi.
Gandhi’s counsel, in a hearing held on April 29, had argued that his client could lose his Lok Sabha seat “permanently and irreversibly” given that the offence carried a maximum punishment of two years.
The lawyer further contended that such a loss would result in “very serious additional irreversible consequence to the person and the constituency he represents.”
Earlier in May this year, the Gujarat High Court had reserved its order on Gandhi’s plea for a stay on his conviction in this defamation case.