By Sushil Kutty
There is always a chance that justices may ask to be recused from a case involving a Congress luminary because there is no saying which justices’ father, mother, uncle, grandfather, grandmother wasn’t affiliated with the hoary old party? Just like Justice B R Gavai who offered to recuse himself from the Modi defamation case with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at the receiving end of fulminations levelled against him including his disqualification from the Lok Sabha where he represented the Wayanad parliamentary constituency.
The case is now in the Supreme Court after winding its way through the lower courts and the Gujarat High Court without relief for the beleaguered Congress leader who could do with some glad news. But the Congress party’s overwhelming historical presence could have come in the way. Justice B R Gavai, who heads the two-judge bench, offered to recuse himself as his father as well as his brother were active in the Congress and his brother still is.
The lawyers in the case, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Mahesh Jethmalani, agreed to disagree with Justice Gavai and the apex court set August 4 for the case to commence. Rahul Gandhi is yet to set eyes on the insides of the New Parliament and that is unacceptable to the Congress. If the Sengol in the New Parliament is a constant reminder that the controls are in the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, how can the Congress leader be denied his role?
Rahul Gandhi faces eight years of disqualification in what looks like a plot to deny him the legacy of his father, grandmother and great-grandfather. Diehard Congress supporters are first and foremost Nehru-Gandhi family loyalists, which is what BJP IT Cell bots cannot take. Erasing the Gandhi family name is their single-point errand.
A disqualified Rahul Gandhi suits fine for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Congress Mukt Bharat agenda. At least for the next eight years the “surname Modi” will not trouble Prime Minister Narendra Modi! Unless the Supreme Court puts the screws on the thought and rules in Rahul Gandhi’s favour whose only fault is that the complainant in the case has a Modi surname. Just like a couple of notorious financial fraudsters who are on the lam. Whoever thought so many Modi surnames will take it personal and hound Rahul Gandhi!
Sometimes you wonder if those with the Modi surname have nothing else to do except squabble over whether their surname was a synonym for “thief” and brigand. Rahul Gandhi cannot and should not be held back by somebody else’s surname, especially when it is the sworn duty of the Congress to remove the Prime Minister with the “Modi surname” by this time next year, 2024.
The Supreme Court has issued notices on the plea seeking stay on Rahul Gandhi’s conviction plus on the two-year jail term that came with the conviction. Rahul Gandhi is paying for “all thieves have Modi surname”. The complainant Purnesh Ishwarbhai is also a ‘Modi’, which is not Rahul Gandhi’s fault. A fact-check on “all thieves have Modi surname” is in order! It might throw up astonishing facts on robbers and thieves, perhaps even dacoits.
The bench of Justices BR Gavai and Prashant Kumar Mishra issued notice to respondent Purnesh Ishwar bhai Modi but then found he was present in the court. The State of Gujarat is the other respondent. Purnesh Modi’s counsel sought 10 days to respond. Rahul Gandhi’s counsel wanted quick and favourable resolution – Gandhi plays the top role in the ‘Oust Modi’ real life movie and cannot be denied his destiny.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is a Congress politician of 40 years, sought interim relief because the “petitioner (Rahul Gandhi) has suffered for 111 days and lost one Parliament session with another to lose”. It was expecting too much from the court even after Singhvi mentioned an impending by-election in Wayanad and that “an interim suspension of disqualification can be given.”
The problem is the Gujarat High Court order with over 100 pages is “unusually long for a matter seeking stay”. The top court observed “so detailed, what is there to file replies… This is peculiar…” Gandhi family loyalists aren’t happy. Everything about the case stinks and not just the alleged defamation.
The Gujarat High Court justice spoke of Rahul Gandhi as if he was a serial offender when all that Rahul Gandhi did was go with the flow at a stump speech to an enthusiastic supporting audience. Purnesh Modi wasn’t even present at the spot. He was hundreds kilometres out of hearing distance. And it is for the Modi surnames to prove they heard Rahul mention “Modi” in his speech. Clearly, there cannot be a prolonged witch-hunt of the Opposition mainstay just because India’s Prime Minister shares the common surname “Modi” with a couple of financial fraudsters of dubious credentials. C’mon! (IPA Service)