Mumbai, June 12: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has got a massive setback from Bhiwandi Court in a criminal defamation case filed by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary Rajesh Kunte.
The case was filed against Rahul after he said - at a rally in Bhiwandi in 2014 - that the RSS was involved in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Now today, the Bhiwandi Court has framed the charges under section IPC 499 and 500 against Rahul Gandhi. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi pleaded not guilty and that's why now further he has to prove his point.
The local RSS functionary Rajesh Kunte had filed the defamation suit against Rahul Gandhi for his statement accusing RSS of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination during an election speech in 2014 in Bhiwandi. Kunte said that the Rahul Gandhi’s alleged statement hurt the feelings of thousands of Swayamsevaks and harmed the reputation of the RSS.
In his complaint, Kunte, secretary of the Bhiwandi unit of RSS, had alleged that Rahul told an election rally at Sonale on March 6 that "RSS people killed Gandhiji". He said the Congress vice president had sought to tarnish the reputation of the Sangh through his speech.
Following the complaint, the magistrate's court in Bhiwandi initiated proceedings and issued a notice to Rahul directing him to appear before it. The Congress leader then approached the High Court seeking exemption from appearance and quashing of the complaint. Rahul's lawyers argued that the complaint was motivated and malafide and deserved to be quashed.
However, Rahul Gandhi had also moved to Supreme Court seeking quashing of the case in the year 2016. But the apex court said he should not have resorted to “collective denunciation” of an organization and would have to face trial if he did not express regret for his remark. The Congress chief immediately declined to accept the suggestion and expressed willingness to face the trial.
Section 499 in the Indian Penal Code
499. Defamation.—Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person. Explanation 1.—It may amount to defamation to impute anything to a deceased person, if the imputation would harm the reputation of that person if living, and is intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives. Explanation 2.—It may amount to defamation to make an imputation concerning a company or an association or collection of persons as such. Explanation 3.—An imputation in the form of an alternative or expressed ironically, may amount to defamation. Explanation 4.—No imputation is said to harm a person’s reputation, unless that imputation directly or indirectly, in the estimation of others, lowers the moral or intellectual character of that person, or lowers the character of that person in respect of his caste or of his calling, or lowers the credit of that person, or causes it to be believed that the body of that person is in a loathsome state, or in a state generally considered as disgraceful.
Section 500 in the Indian Penal Code
500. Punishment for defamation.—Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
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