Rahul Gandhi's attempt to seek a stay on his conviction in the 2019 criminal defamation case over his 'Modi surname' remark has been denied by a Surat court. The former Wayanad MP in an attempt to overturn his disqualification from Lok Sabha, had approached the Surat Sessions Court after a court in the city convicted him in the case concerned and sentenced him to 2-year jail.
Now with no relief from the sessions court, the Gandhi scion has been left with limited options to get his Lok Sabha membership restored and contest the 2024 election. Following the Surat court rejecting Rahul's application on Thursday, the legal team of the former MP might move to Gujarat HC and seek a stay on the Congress leader's conviction.
If the HC stays the conviction, then Rahul's membership will be restored and therefore he could fight the 2024 elections. However, if the High Court also rejects his plea, the only option left with the Congress leader would be to approach the Supreme Court.
On March 23, the Surat Court convicted Rahul and sentenced him to two-year jail. However, it suspended the sentence for 30 days so that the Gandhi scion could appeal in the higher court. Notably, after the conviction order Rahul was disqualified from the Lower House of the Parliament. Now, with the rejection from the session court on April 20, the former Wayanad MP could also face jail. Gandhi's legal team has to be quick to file an application for a stay on conviction in the Gujarat HC to save the Congress leader from jail and also restore his membership.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh also confirmed that the party will "avail all options under the law". "We will continue to avail all options still available to us under the law. Dr A M Singhvi will brief the media on Rahul Gandhi's appeal at 4 pm," he told reporters on Thursday.
Notably, the defamation case is related to Rahul's remark wherein he said, "How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?", during an election rally at Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019.