Defamation case: Rahul’s appeal against Gujarat HC verdict to be heard by apex court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on July 21 an appeal of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi challenging the Gujarat High Court’s July 7 verdict which dismissed his plea seeking a stay on his conviction in a defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Mishra agreed to hear the plea after senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Gandhi, sought listing of the appeal on July 21 or July 24.

The bench said it would hear it on July 21.

In his appeal filed on July 15, Gandhi has said that if the judgment is not stayed, it would lead to throttling of free speech, expression, thought, and statement.

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He contended that if the high court verdict is not stayed it would contribute to the systematic, repetitive emasculation of democratic institutions and the consequent strangulation of democracy which would be gravely detrimental to the political climate and future of India.

Purnesh Modi, a former minister in the Gujarat government, had filed a criminal defamation case in 2019 against Gandhi over his “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” remark made during an election rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019.

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