New Delhi, Aug 24: Indicating that the criminal defamation case against Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi for making sweeping remarks against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in relation to the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ‘inferred that Rahul did not accuse the entire RSS of Gandhi’s murder’.
Rahul Gandhi’s lawyer, former Union Minister Kapil Sibal told the apex court that the Congress Vice President never accused the RSS as (an) institution of the crime. Sibal referred to an affidavit filed by Gandhi before the Bombay high court in which he clarified on his defamatory statements.
“I never said RSS is an institution of crime but (Nathuram) Godse who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi is affiliated to RSS. It is not an attempt to appropriate the legacy of RSS,” Gandhi is said to have clarified in his affidavit.
Following this submission, the judges then inferred that “Rahul never blamed the RSS but blamed an individual associated with RSS”, indicated that they are likely to clear the Congress Vice-President of defamation charges next week.
A bench, comprising justices Dipak Misra and Rohinton F. Nariman, however, did not quash the case against Rahul Gandhi after Kunte’s lawyer sought more time to seek instructions on the issue. The case will now be heard on September 1.
During a Thane rally in March 2014, Rahul had made the sweeping remarks accusing the RSS of the killing of Mahatma Gandhi. “RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him”, he had said then.
Following these remarks Rajesh Kunte, secretary of Bhiwandi unit of RSS, filed a case against Rahul Gandhi for his alleged defamatory comments made against the organisation during an election rally in 2014.
On July 19, the Supreme Court told Rahul to express regret for his comments holding the RSS responsible for Gandhi's assassination or be ready to face a defamation trial.
"Why did you make a sweeping statement against the RSS branding everyone associated with the organization in the same brush... You can't make a wholesale denunciation of an organization," the SC bench said while hearing the defamation case.
The top court also said that if Rahul wanted to defend himself, and was not ready to express his regret then it will be better that he faces trial.
Rahul had moved the Supreme Court in May 2015 for quashing the criminal case lodged against him.