Express regret or face trial, SC to Rahul on RSS defamation case
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R F Nariman refused to give him two weeks� time which he appealed for, since his lawyer Kapil Sibal is not available to advocate for him before that
The apex court on Tuesday directed Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi to express his regret on his controversial statement about RSS regarding Mahatma Gandhi assassination, or face the trial.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R F Nariman refused to give him two weeks’ time which he appealed for, since his lawyer Kapil Sibal is not available to advocate for him, before that.
The next hearing in the case is on July 27.
The SC rebuked the Congress leader for his comment during 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, blaming RSS for Gandhi assassination.
"You can't make collective denunciations," the court told Rahul.
"You can't make wholesale denunciation of an organisation. Purpose of law is not to turn citizens into litigants. History is the biggest enemy of privacy," the court observed.
"Why did you make a sweeping statement against the RSS branding everyone associated with the organization in the same brush," the bench asked Rahul.
Rahul’s Counsel tried to justify his remarks citing historical texts and government records.
However, the bench made it clear that either he should clarify that what he said was for public good, or face the trial.
Rahul, in May 2015, had moved the apex court to quash the criminal case against him lodged after his controversial speech against RSS in Thane in March 2014.
"RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him...They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji," Rahul had said in Thane.
Following the statements, the secretary of Bhiwandi unit of RSS Rajesh Kunte filed a criminal case against him in a Maharashtra court.
Rajesh in his complaint argued that the Congress leader said ‘RSS people killed Gandhiji,' in an election rally in Sonale on March 6.
He also argued that the Congress leader’s intention was to tarnish the image of all RSS workers across the nation.
Following his complaint, the magistrate’s court issued notice to Gandhi and asked him to appear before it.
However, in May 2015, Rahul moved SC to quash the criminal charges against him.