NEW DELHI- Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified from the Lok Sabha because of his conviction in a 2019 criminal defamation case.
“Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction i.e. 23 March, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” the Lok Sabha Secretariat said in a notification issued today.
Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, says that the moment a member of parliament is convicted of any offence and sentenced for at least two years, she or he attracts disqualification.
A court in Gujarat’s Surat yesterday sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail in the case, filed on a complaint by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi for his alleged remark, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” The court also granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal to a higher court.
Rahul Gandhi can now challenge the decision in court. Congress leaders have questioned the legality of the move, saying it is only the President who can disqualify MPs in consultation with the Election Commission.
Meanwhile, Congress units in several states this morning launched simultaneous protests, accusing the Centre of political vendetta. Karnataka police detained Congress state president DK Shivakumar and other party leaders and workers who were protesting against the Surat court verdict against Mr Gandhi.
The BJP has said the conviction has come from an independent judiciary after Mr Gandhi insulted the OBC community with his ‘thief’ remark.