Modi surname case: Supreme Court stays conviction of Rahul Gandhi [4.8.2023]

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the conviction of Rahul Gandhi in a 2019 defamation case over his Modi surname remark. A bench comprising Justices B R Gavai, P S Narasimha and P V Sanjay Kumar said the trial court did not give any particular reasons for imposing a punishment of two years imprisonment on Gandhi.  

"Considering the aforesaid and particularly that no reasons have been given by the trial judge for a maximum sentence which has incurred disqualification, order of conviction needs to stay during pendency of proceedings,"

During the hearing on Friday, Abhishek Singhvi, who was representing Gandhi, said that Purnesh Modi's original surname is not Modi. He belongs to the Modh Varnika Samaj. 

Singhvi added that his client is "not a hardened criminal" and there is no conviction in any case despite several cases filed against him by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers. The top court was hearing a plea by Gandhi challenging the Gujarat High Court verdict which dismissed his plea seeking a stay on his conviction in a defamation case over his "Modi surname" remark.

Purnesh Modi had filed a criminal defamation case in 2019 against Gandhi over his "How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?" remark made during an election rally in Kolar in Karnataka on April 13, 2019.

The Congress leader was disqualified as a Member of Parliament on March 24 after a Gujarat court convicted him and sentenced him to two-year imprisonment on charges of criminal defamation. 

04 Aug 2023