Big relief for Rahul Gandhi: Supreme Court stays proceedings in defamation case

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Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice- president
Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice- president

In a major relief for Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, the Supreme Court has  stayed proceedings against him in a criminal defamation case before a trial court in Maharashtra, for allegedly blaming RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

“There shall be stay of further proceedings in a case pending before the trial court till the next date of hearing,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant said. Congress Vice President had moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the Bombay High Court order dismissing his plea for quashing a defamation case against him for allegedly blaming RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Earlier, Gandhi’s plea seeking to quash the complaint filed by RSS activist Rajesh Kunte before a magisterial court in Bhiwandi in Thane district of Maharashtra was rejected by the Bombay High Court on March 10.  It was alleged by the RSS activist that the Congress leader had said at a rally during last year’s Lok Sabha poll that a worker of the saffron outfit killed Mahatma Gandhi.

In his complaint, Kunte, secretary of Bhiwandi unit of RSS, had alleged that Rahul told an election rally at Sonale on March 6 that “RSS people killed Gandhiji”. He said the Congress vice president had sought to tarnish the reputation of the Sangh through his speech.  Following the complaint, the magistrate’s court had initiated proceedings and issued a notice to Rahul directing him to appear before it.  The Congress leader then approached the High Court seeking exemption from appearance and quashing of the complaint.

Rahul’s lawyers argued that the complaint was motivated and malafide and deserved to be quashed. The prosecution had opposed the petition and argued that Rahul can plead his case and lead evidence during trial before the magistrate.

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