The papers for restoration of Congress’s Rahul Gandhi are ready and all that remains is a sign-off from the Lok Sabha Speaker. This is expected to be done tomorrow, sources have said. The Congress will go to court in case of a delay, sources have said. The united opposition will also add the issue to the list they are flagging in parliament in case the Speaker doesn’t act with the speed with which he disqualified Mr Gandhi after his conviction in the defamation case.
In case of Lakshadweep MP PP Mohammed Faizal, a member of the Nationalist Congress Party, the restoration had taken over a month.
The MP, who was disqualified in January after receiving a 10-year jail term, had to go to the Supreme Court when he was not restored despite a Kerala High order freezing the sentence. He was restored ahead of the Supreme Court hearing in March.
Mr Gandhi was disqualified in May after he received a two-year jail term in a defamation case following his comments regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname. At a rally in Karnataka’s Kolar ahead of the 2019 general election, in a dig at PM Modi, Mr Gandhi had said, “How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?”
On Friday, the Supreme Court put the conviction on hold, saying, “No reason has been given by the trial judge for imposing maximum sentence. The order of conviction needs to be stayed pending final adjudication”.
“The ramifications of disqualification not just affects the rights of the individual but also the electorate,” said the judges.
After the reprieve, Mr Gandhi, who has consistently refused to apologise, tweeted, “Come what may, my duty remains the same. Protect the idea of India”.
The BJP said Mr Gandhi is on “thin ice” given the number of cases against him.
There are several other criminal defamation cases pending against Mr Gandhi, including “the high-profile case of mudslinging the venerable Veer Savarkar”, filed by the freedom fighter’s family, tweeted BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya.
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