Rahul Gandhi, a member of parliament in India, has been found guilty of defamation and sentenced to two years imprisonment by a court in Surat on Thursday. He was also fined Rs 15,000, but was granted bail by the court.
It is unclear whether Rahul Gandhi’s membership of parliament will be affected by Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act 1951 following his conviction. Rahul Gandhi had made a statement during a rally in Kolar, Karnataka, before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, where he had referred to “Modi” as the surname of thieves and named Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, and Narendra Modi as examples. A defamation case was filed against him by Surat West’s BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, who claimed that Rahul Gandhi had defamed their society.
During the hearing, Rahul Gandhi had appeared in court three times and declared himself innocent during the final appearance in October 2021. His lawyer argued that his intention was not to defame anyone and that he had raised his voice against corruption.
However, on Thursday, the Surat court found Rahul Gandhi guilty of defamation under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC and sentenced him to two years imprisonment, with a fine of Rs 15,000. He was granted bail for 30 days to appeal to the High Court.
It is not the first time a leader has faced such a situation in India.