What are the legal options available to Rahul Gandhi after membership termination?

  • shubham kishore
  • bbc correspondent

12 minutes ago

Raul Gandhi

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership has been cancelled. On Friday, the Lok Sabha Secretariat issued a notice informing about the cancellation of Rahul Gandhi’s membership.

It has been said in the notification that Rahul Gandhi, an MP from the Kerala headquarters of Wayanad Lok Sabha, has been disqualified since the day of the verdict i.e. March 23, 2023.

On Thursday, the court sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years in prison in the libel case. As soon as the sentence was pronounced, the court postponed this sentence for a month.

Following this decision, the BBC Former Additional Attorney General KC Kaushik I had a detailed discussion with him and tried to understand the legal aspects of this decision and Rahul’s options.

Raul Gandhi

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Was the speaker on a leash or could he wait for action to be taken?

As soon as the sentence was pronounced on Thursday, the court had given him a month to appeal.

That is why it is speculated that no action will be taken against him in the Lok Sabha for the time being.

KC Kaushik says that this move by the Speaker seems to have been taken in haste.

He said: “This is not a case where the Speaker needed to be in such a hurry. He should have postponed his decision for a month, because when the court itself has postponed its decision for a month, technically the sentence is suspended, making the decision of the Speaker is, in my opinion, contrary to the simple principles of justice”.

However, BJP says that, according to the law, it was necessary to give notice to the Speaker to cancel membership after being convicted.

Can Rahul challenge the Speaker’s decision?,

Rahul Gandhi has the right to appeal against the decision of the Speaker to cancel his membership in the High Court or the Supreme Court.

According to Kaushik, “Rahul Gandhi has the right to appeal. If someone’s rights are violated in the Indian Constitution, he can go to the Constitutional Court (High Court or Supreme Court). He can also go to the High Court under section 226 and They can also appeal to the Supreme Court for those under 32 years of age”.

What will happen if you get relief from the Superior Court?

Rahul Gandhi will appeal to the High Court against the Surat court’s decision.

Even if you are acquitted by the High Court or your sentence is reduced, you will not be automatically reinstated as a member. For this, Rahul Gandhi will have to go to the High Court or the Supreme Court again.

According to Kaushik, “I think the president himself will not review his order. He will wait for the decision of the High Court or the Constitutional Court.”

What elections can be held in Wayanad?

If Rahul does not get a remedy against the speaker’s decision, he will have to appeal to the High Court and Supreme Court in the libel case and if he does not get a stay, this process will continue and in the meantime the election can be announced for Wayanad seat.

According to Kaushik, “if the Election Commission declares the seat vacant and announces elections, then a third litigation may occur. The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court has said that the Election Commission’s order may be challenged.”

“But once the Returning Officer issues the election schedule, I don’t think the High Court will offer any relief.”

That is, if Rahul Gandhi wants to stop the elections there, as soon as the Election Commission declares the seat vacant, he will have to go to the High Court.

Raul Gandhi

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What if Rahul’s punishment is reduced?

The lower court sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years and if the higher court finds the punishment excessive, then the court can reduce it as well.

Now look at the Representation of the People Act of 1951

•Under Section 8(1), membership can be lost for promoting enmity between two groups, accepting bribes or misusing your influence in the election.

• Membership will be terminated if found guilty of hoarding, profiteering, adulteration of food and drink under Section 8 (2) or under the Dowry Prohibition Act and sentenced to a minimum of six months.

• Under Section 8(3), if any person is convicted and sentenced to two years or more, then they will not be eligible to become a member of the Chamber. The final decision will be made by the President of the Chamber.

Therefore, if the High Court reduces Rahul Gandhi’s sentence to less than two years, then he may be eligible to stand for election in the future or retain his current seat.

Raul Gandhi

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What are Rahul’s options now?

According to Kaushik, “First of all, Rahul Gandhi should appeal to the high court against the Surat injunction.”

“As soon as the appeal is filed, you should discuss a provisional application and seek a stay of sentence. Your lawyer may advise you to challenge the Speaker’s order as well.”

The speaker’s order can be challenged in the High Court.

what’s the whole deal

Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi reportedly made this statement in Kolar, Karnataka during the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

He reportedly said: “Why do all the thieves have the last name Modi?”

A case was registered against Rahul Gandhi under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code provides for a maximum sentence of two years in criminal libel cases.

Following the announcement of the sentence, petitioner Purnesh Modi told the media: “We wholeheartedly welcome this decision. It is not a question of whether they are happy with the announcement of the two-year sentence. It is a matter of social movement. Also, a statement against society, caste should not be given. Nothing else. Rest, we will sit in our society and discuss further.

Rahul Gandhi’s legal team told the media that during the hearing, Rahul Gandhi said that he did not want to hurt any community with his statement.

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