Gujarat Court Finds Rahul Gandhi Guilty in Defamation Case Over Remarks on 'Modi Surname'

Sentenced to two years in jail, Gandhi, who attended court today, got bail.

New Delhi: A District Court at Surat in Gujarat has held Congress MP Rahul Gandhi guilty and sentenced him two years of imprisonment in the criminal defamation case filed against him over remarks he had made in 2019 ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Gandhi, who attended court today (March 23), was granted bail. LiveLaw reported that the court has suspended his sentence against Gandhi’s plea that he wishes to challenge this sentence in a higher court.

Notably, Section 8.3 of the Representation of People’s Act debars those convicted for two years or more.

Gandhi has not reacted to the sentencing and bail but shortly after the order arrived, he tweeted a quote by Mahatma Gandhi which said, in Hindi, “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it.”

BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi had lodged a complaint against Gandhi after he had allegedly asked in a rally in Kolar of Karnataka, “Why do all the thieves, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi or Narendra Modi, have ‘Modi’ in their names?”

Gujarat Police had FIR filed an under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500 (dealing with defamation).

In his statement before the Surat’s chief judicial magistrate (CJM) A.N .Dave in 2021, Gandhi had denied making any defamatory remarks.

PTI had then reported that when the magistrate asked Gandhi if he had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave Rs 30 crore to an industrialist, Gandhi told the court that being a national leader, he keeps raising issues of corruption and unemployment in his addresses in the interest of the nation, and it is his right to raise do so.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had appeared before the court in October 2019 and pleaded not guilty for his comment.

The Gujarat high court, in February 2023, vacated the stay on the trial in the case.