Modi Defamation Case


How this all started?

During a rally in Lok Sabha Elections in 2019 , Rahul Gandhi allegedly made a derogatory remark against the surname of prime minister Narendra Modi. This incident took place at the Kolar district of Karnataka.

Statement of Rahul Gandhi during the speech:

“I have a question why do all of them – all of these thieves – have modi, modi, modi in their surnames?

Lalit Modi,  Nirav Modi, Narendra Modi and if we search a bit more such Modis will come out.”

However this remark of Rahul Gandhi followed an earlier reference to runagate diamond merchant Nirav Modi.

Criminal proceedings against Rahul Gandhi:

In this regard ex Gujrat Minister Purnesh Modi filed the criminal case claiming Gandhi had defamed the Modi community by his statement. Though his own name is not there in the Gandhi’s statement. Rahul Gandhi personally testified before the court of the then CJM, Surat, A.N. Dave, on June 24, 2021, after the case was filed on April 16, 2019. The complainant raced to the high court and requested a stay of the trial's proceedings in March 2022 after the CJM denied his request for Rahul Gandhi to be called once more and insisted that arguments begin right away. This observation of court was made on March 7, 2022. The fact that Purnesh Modi successfully delayed Gandhi's trial for nearly 12 months by asking the high court for a stay of proceedings last year is unique in this specific defamation case. Typically, the party who requests a stay of proceedings in a case is the accused.

The trial resumed on February 27, 2023 this time before another judge, CJM H.H. Varma.

What did the Surat (Gujarat) court rule?

Chief Judicial Magistrate H.H. Varma found Rahul Gandhi guilty of defamation under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, on Thursday (23/03/2023) and stated that a lesser sentence would send the wrong message to the public and defeat the goal of the defamation law.

A member of Parliament's remark has a "very wide impact on the public," according to the Surat court in Gujarat, which on Thursday sentenced Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to a two-year prison term in a criminal defamation case.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi, and Anil Ambani might have been the only targets of Rahul's speech, but he "deliberately" said something hurtful instead. According to the court, the Congress leader was aware of how the controversial remark would benefit him because it was made during an election campaign and he was aware of the impact his statement would have on the general public. 

The Supreme Court's criminal contempt actions against Rahul for his "chowkidaar chor hai" statement were also brought up in court, and it was underlined that the apex court had ordered him to be "alert" going forward after he submitted an unqualified apology.

The magistrate's court noted that despite the Supreme Court's warning to the accused to be vigilant, there does not appear to have been any change in his behaviour.

The court has also approved Gandhi’s bail on a surety of 15,000 and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal.