SC Rejects Plea Seeking Quashing of Notification That Restored Rahul Gandhi’s LS Membership

The Supreme Court on Friday took a stern view on the filing of “frivolous” petitions and dismissed with a cost of Rs 1 lakh a plea seeking the quashing of an August 7, 2023, notification that restored the Lok Sabha membership of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

The Lok Sabha notification restored the membership of Rahul Gandhi following an apex court order staying his conviction in a 2019 defamation case over his ‘Modi’ surname remark.

The top court had on August 4, 2023, stayed his conviction in the defamation case. Gandhi represents Wayanad in the Lower House of Parliament.

The plea filed by Lucknow-based Ashok Pandey came up for hearing before a bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta.

The bench observed that Pandey had not appeared before it despite the matter being called twice for hearing.

It also referred to two previous orders passed by the court on separate petitions filed by the petitioner.

The bench noted that the top court had dismissed those petitions with costs of Rs 5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively.

“Filing of such frivolous petitions waste precious time not only of the court but also the entire registry ,” it observed while dismissing the plea and imposing the cost.

The petitioner had arrayed the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Union of India, the Election Commission of India and Rahul Gandhi as respondents in the plea.

The bench also observed that the issue raised by the petitioner was identical to the one raised in his earlier plea, which was dismissed in October last year with a cost of Rs 1 lakh.

In the plea dismissed in October, the petitioner had challenged the restoration of Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership.

Last year, the apex court had also imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on the petitioner for claiming in a separate PIL that the oath taken by the Bombay High Court chief justice was “defective”.

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Gandhi was disqualified as an MP on March 24 last year after a Gujarat court convicted and sentenced him to two years imprisonment for criminal defamation for comments he made about the Modi surname.

The Gujarat High Court later dismissed his petition for a stay on conviction, observing that “purity in politics” is the need of the hour. Thereafter, the apex court had stayed his conviction in the case.

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

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