- Supreme Court suspends Rahul Gandhi’s defamation conviction.
- Gandhi can return to parliament and contest national elections next year.
- BJP’s attempt to discredit Gandhi ahead of elections fails.
The Supreme Court of India has suspended the conviction of Rahul Gandhi, a leader of the opposition Congress party, in a defamation case. This means that Gandhi can return to parliament and contest national elections next year.
Gandhi was convicted in March 2023 in a case brought by a lawmaker from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over comments he made in 2019 that were deemed insulting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other people surnamed Modi.
The Supreme Court’s decision to suspend Gandhi’s conviction is a major setback for the BJP, which had been hoping to use the case to discredit Gandhi ahead of the next elections.
Gandhi’s lawyers argued that the conviction was politically motivated and that the comments he made were protected by free speech. The Supreme Court agreed, saying that the comments were “not meant to be taken literally” and that Gandhi had not intended to cause any harm.
The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for Gandhi and the Congress party. It is also a reminder that the judiciary in India is still an independent institution that can protect the rights of citizens, even when they are critical of the government.
Rahul Gandhi, 53, a member of a political dynasty that has produced three Indian prime ministers, was sentenced to two years in prison for defamation.
However, the sentence was suspended and he was granted bail. He also lost his seat in parliament because lawmakers who are sentenced to two years or more in prison are automatically disqualified.
Gandhi’s appeals to lower courts and the high court in Gujarat to suspend the conviction were rejected, so he appealed to the Supreme Court.