Rahul Gandhi on granny’s footsteps, loses MP status
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi was on Friday disqualified from Lok Sabha following his conviction by a Surat court in a 2019 criminal defamation case case over his remark on the ‘Modi surname’. Announcing his disqualification under Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Lok Sabha Secretariat in a notification said that it would be effective from March 23, the day of his conviction.
The disqualification will bar Gandhi from contesting polls for eight years unless stayed by a higher court.
Incidentally, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, in 2013, had attempted to circumvent a Supreme Court ruling to set aside an RP Act provision under which a person sentenced to imprisonment of two years or more shall be disqualified ”from the date of such conviction” and remain disqualified for another six years after serving time.
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Gandhi himself had opposed the ordinance at that time and tore the ordinance in a press conference as a token of protest.
Interestingly, Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother Indira Gandhi, former prime minister of India, had also lost her MP status back in 1975.
Only once in India’s history has the main opposition leader been jailed. In December 1978, Indira Gandhi, by then no longer PM, was expelled from the Lok Sabha. She was debarred from holding any elected post for six years following her conviction by the Allahabad High Court in June 12, 1975.
The verdict is widely believed to have led to imposition of Emergency.
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While convicting Indira Gandhi of electoral malpractices, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha disqualified her from Parliament and imposed a six-year ban on her holding any elected post.
Following appeal filed by Indira Gandhi, a vacation judge of the Supreme granted a conditional stay on Justice Sinha’s verdict allowing her to continue as Prime Minister. However, she was debarred from taking part in parliamentary proceedings and drawing salary as an MP. The Supreme Court later overturned her conviction in November 1975 during the Emergency.
The Congress leaders had rallied in support of Indira Gandhi after the Allahbad court verdict.
Story first published: Friday, March 24, 2023, 19:02 [IST]
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