Rahul Gandhi, the head of the Congress, will appeal the Surat sessions court's decision to deny a stay of his conviction in a criminal defamation case stemming from his statement about the “Modi surname” on Saturday. According to the case list the high court released, Justice Hemant Prachchhak will hear Gandhi's appeal on April 29.
When Gandhi's attorney P S Champaneri brought up the matter in front of Justice Gita Gopi on April 26, she excused herself from the proceeding by remarking, “Not before me.” A day after Gandhi petitioned the HC, the development happened. On March 23, a metropolitan magistrate's court in Surat condemned the former head of the Congress party to two years in prison after finding him guilty of violating Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) in a case brought by Gujarat MLA for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Purnesh Modi in 2019.
Gandhi, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2019 from the Keralan district of Wayanad, was later declared ineligible to serve as an MP under the terms of the Representation of the People Act. Along with a request for a stay of the conviction, Gandhi contested the order in a Surat sessions court. The judge on April 20 granted him bail but declined to suspend the conviction.
Purnesh Modi sued Gandhi for criminal defamation when Gandhi said, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” on April 13, 2019, during an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka. Gandhi's restoration as a Parliamentary member may be made possible by a stay of the conviction.