Kerala MP Rahul Gandhi disqualified from Lok Sabha following his conviction by Surat Court

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified from Lok Sabha following his conviction in a criminal defamation case. He was disqualified under section 8(3) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, which states that any MP or MLA convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified from the date of conviction.

Rahul Gandhi, the Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad in Kerala, has been disqualified with immediate effect, as section 8(3) of the Representation of Peoples Act states that an MP or MLA will be disqualified from the date of conviction, if the jail sentence awarded is two years or more.

The notification issued by the Lok Sabha secretariate says:

Consequent upon his conviction by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat in C.C./18712/2019, Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction i.e. 23 March, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Apart from the current disqualification, Rahul Gandhi will also not be able to contest the next general election, and also perhaps the 2029 elections, if the conviction is not overturned by a higher court. According to the law, the disqualification will continue for six years after release from jail.

Therefore, if Rahul Gandhi does not appeal and goes to jail now, he will remain disqualified for eight years, 2 years in jail and 6 years after that. If he appeals, which he will, as announced by the Congress party, it will depend on how long it stays in the courts till the Supreme Court, and what is the final verdict. Theoretically, if Rahul Gandhi does not get relief from the courts up to Supreme Court, the length of his disqualification will increase by the time taken in the appeal process. However, if any subsequent court overturns the verdict or even reduces the sentence, his disqualification will be withdrawn.

Rahul Gandhi was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Surat yesterday for his defamatory comments against people with Modi surname in a speech in 2019.

A criminal defamation case was filed by Gujarat BJP leader Purnesh Modi after Rahul Gandhi in an election rally had asked why everyone with the Modi surname is a thief, mentioning Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi.

It is notable that the Representation of Peoples Act earlier had a provision under section 8(4) which had said that if the convicted lawmaker appeals against the conviction, such a lawmaker will not be disqualified. But the Supreme Court of India had struck down this provision in 2013.

The UPA-II government at that time had tried to overturn this judgement by bringing an amendment, and an ordinance was also issued to make it applicable immediately. But Rahul Gandhi himself had objected to this amendment, called it a nonsense, and had trashed it in front of the media. The amendment was withdrawn after this public humiliation of the government by its own leader.

Source: OpIndia

Tags : National

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