The Supreme Court on Friday, 4 August, stayed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's conviction in the criminal defamation case filed against him by BJP leader Purnesh Modi over his 2019 “Modi surname” remark.
This will pave the way for him to get his seat back in the parliament and let his case be decided on merits in trial.
After the Gujarat High Court had, on 7 July, refused to stay his conviction, Gandhi had moved the top court against the order.
"...that no reason has been given by trial judge for imposing max sentence, order of conviction needs to be stayed pending final adjudication," a bench headed by Justice Gavai said Friday.
A Sessions Court in Surat on 20 April had rejected Gandhi's plea seeking a stay on his conviction.
A Surat Magistrate court on 23 March, had convicted Rahul Gandhi in a criminal defamation case and sentenced him to two years in jail for his comment that allegedly said "all people with Modi surname are thieves" that he made during an election rally in Kolar in April 2019.
Justice Hadirash Varma, in his 168-page judgment, had pointed out that as a Member of Parliament (MP), Gandhi wields significant influence, and therefore, he should have exercised caution and self-control.
The judge asserted, "The accused had taken the reference of the surname of the current Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, to satisfy his political greed and insulted and defamed 13 crore people living in the whole of India having the surname 'Modi."
He was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha a day later.