Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi was, on Friday, disqualified from the Lok Sabha with effect from his conviction in the criminal defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark by a Surat court on Thursday.
A notification issued by Lok Sabha Secretary General Utpal Kumar Singh announced the disqualification for publication in the Gazette of India Extraordinary Part II on Friday itself, and informed all concerned Government and Parliamentary offices about it.
The notification said: “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.”
The Surat court on Thursday sentenced Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to two years imprisonment in the defamation case over his “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname” remark made in April, 2019 during a Lok Sabha election rally in Kolar, Karnataka.
The criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi was filed by BJP MLA from Surat-West Purnesh Modi.
Gandhi’s disqualification has come after two weeks of disturbances in Parliament over Treasury Benches’ demand that he apologise for his comments in the UK on the state of Indian democracy and Parliament. In spite of frequent adjournments, the two Houses of Parliament completed all essential agenda pertaining to the passage of Union Budget, 2023-24.
The Congress party came down heavily at the Government over the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi, calling it a “strangulation of democracy” while exuding confidence that the disqualification will be revoked through a stay on his conviction by a higher court.
Congress national spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi and senior leader Jairam Ramesh said “The issue before us is political, more than it is legal. It is a political issue because it signifies the systematic, repetitive emasculation of democratic institutions by the ruling party. It signifies the strangulation of democracy itself.”