Charges against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in relation to a criminal case of defamation filed by an RSS worker, were framed by a magistrate court in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, on Tuesday.
In 2014, in a rally, Rahul Gandhi had allegedly accused the RSS of murdering Mahatma Gandhi which was the source of the defamation suit.
Indian Penal Code sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) have been slapped against Gandhi by the magistrate.
The magistrate, after hearing out the charges and giving their explanations to Rahul Gandhi, asked if he would want to plead guilty of the charges. Gandhi pleased not guilty.
The court allowed the Congress president to leave after these proceedings.
“Let them (the BJP and the RSS) slap as many cases as they want against me. Ours is a fight of ideology. We will fight them and win”, Rahul Gandhi told the media after he came out of the court.
Rahul Gandhi’s lawyer Narayan Iyer said, “The court agreed to our plea to convert the case into a summons trial (from a summary one). The next hearing is scheduled on August 10.”
Detailed recording of evidence of a case is done in a summons or detailed trial while a summary trial is one where the court records a summary of the evidence.
Iyer said in a summons trial, the claimant can demand the recording of witness evidences, and both defence and prosecution can produce evidence they possess.
Gandhi told reporters: “Our fight is against the policies of the prime minister. Farmers are frustrated and the prime minister does not talk about employment for youth. This government is only for the rich.”
Rahul Gandhi also mocked Narendra Modi’s programme “Mann ki Baat”. He said the PM always says mann ki baat but never has said the “Kaam Ki Baat” like jobs for the youths of safeguard for the farmers.
RSS worker Rajesh Kunte had filed the defamation case against Gandhi. On March 6, 2014 the Congress President was present in the rally where he gave that speech. Kunte alleged that Gandhi had indirectly suggested that RSS workers had killed Mahatma Gandhi.
After Kunte’s complaint, the magistrate court had, on July 11, 2014, summoned Gandhi to face trial.
Gandhi’s appeal to quash the defamation case was ignored and request for more time was turned down by the Bombay high court on March 10, 2015.
Rahul Gandhi had applied for special leave petition on the Supreme Court. But later he had withdrawn the petition. He said that he wants to face trial and said he would not apologise.
(Adapted from TheHindustanTimes.com)