Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi may have to pay a heavy price for accusing the RSS for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. Bombay High Court on March 10 dismissed his plea seeking quashing of defamation complaint against him in Bhiwandi court. The High Court also refused to grant stay on its order to allow the Congress leader time to appeal against it in the Supreme Court.
Rahul Gandhi during his election speech at a rally organised at Sonale in Bhiwandi, near Thane, on March 6, 2014 had accused “RSS people” of “killing Mahatma Gandhi”. On it a local RSS worker, Rajesh Kunte, filed a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi in Bhiwandi court. He said the Congress vice president sought to tarnish the reputation of the Sangh through his speech.
After hearing Kunte and pursuing the police report, the Magistrate held that a prima facie case was made out against Rahul Gandhi and ordered issue of process against him on July 11, 2014. Judicial Magistrate First Class (JFMC) SV Swamy had ordered summons to be issued against Rahul under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (defamation). Rahul was then asked to appear before the court on October 7, 2014.
Instead of appearing in Bhiwandi court for evidences, Rahul sought quashing of the complaint by filing a plea in the Bombay High Court stating that he may be exempted from his personal appearance before the Bhiwandi court as the complaint against him is made out of malafide intention. Now after dismissal of his plea by Justice ML Tahaliyani, Rahul Gandhi will have to remain present in Bhiwandi court for the defamation complaint trial.
In his plea before the Bombay High Court, Rahul claimed that the complaint against him was politically motivated. But the respondent Rajesh Kunte argued that his petition was not mala fide or politically motivated. He said since the Bhiwandi court was hearing the complaint, it was important for Shri Gandhi to lead the evidence before that court. He argued that if Shri Gandhi can come to Bhiwandi to deliver a speech, he can also come there to appear before the court. Rahul’s petition was also opposed by Maharashtra Government on technical grounds. The government counsel told the Court that since the lower court was already conducting trial in the matter, Rahul should remain present there and lead the evidence.
It is to be noted that Bhiwandi court had summoned Rahul Gandhi to remain present before it. But he approached the Bombay High Court seeking relief from personal appearance. The High Court had also granted him interim relief. But now it quashed Rahul’s plea.
Talking to Organiser over telephone, Advocate Ganesh Dharghalkar, the counsel of petitioner Rajesh Kunte said, “There cannot be different laws for different people. The law is same for all. The High Court has rightly supported out argument. If an ordinary person has to appear before the court in any case, the VIP too should appear.”