Rahul Gandhi, Congress party leader faces severe backlash as according to a notification issued by Lok Sabha Secretariat today, Gandhi has been disqualified as an MP from Kerala’s Wayanad district. This comes after the conviction of the said leader in the criminal defamation case over his ‘Modi surname’ remark where he stated, “why all thieves share the Modi surname” made during a political campaign in Karol in April 2019.
Gandhi was sentenced to two years in jail and also imposed a fine of Rs. 15,000 after finding him guilty under Sections 499 (Defamation), 500 (punishment for Defamation) IPC.
The aforementioned disqualification is as per Article 102 (1) (e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act 1951 which provides that a person will be disqualified if convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years after his release. Although, the disqualification can be reversed in case a higher court, in an appeal, grants a stay on the conviction of the person concerned or it goes on to decide the appeal moved against the conviction in favour of the person concerned.
Thus, as of now Kerala’s Wayanad seat remains vacant awaiting for the special election by the Election Commission. Now, the only way he can be saved is if he manages to get the conviction overturned or reduced to less than two years. Only then the disqualification would get nullified.
A recent similar case was that of Lakshadweep MP Mohammad Faizal who was saved even after his disqualification was notified by the Lok Sabha secretariat from the date of his conviction in an attempt-to-murder case in January this year and byelection announced by EC. The EC, however, set aside the bypoll notification after the Kerala High Court stayed his conviction.