SC chides Rahul Gandhi, warns of trial if he doesn’t express regret for “collective denunciation” of RSS

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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi may have to face the heat of the judiciary for his comments that RSS killed Mahatma Gandhi. The Supreme Court today has described Mr Gandhi comments as

“RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him…They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji,” Rahul had made these comments at a public rally in Thane district in March 2014.

The bench led by Justice Dipak Misra reminded his counsel that the constitutional validity of criminal defamation has been upheld to ward off anarchy in the society and those making offensive statements must face trial now. “Why did you make a sweeping statement against the RSS branding everyone associated with the organisation in the same brush? You cannot collectively denounce a group,” said the bench.

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Although Gandhi’s counsel sought to justify his remarks saying these are historical facts and even part of the government records but the bench retorted Rahul would now have to show the truthfulness or the public good in making such statement. To the argument that the defamation law flies in the face of the Constitutional right to freedom of speech, the court said: “Freedom is not crippled or cut.  Everyday a writer, politician will speak something. The purpose of the law is not to turn people into litigants.”

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The apex court also added that if Rahul wanted to defend himself and was not ready to express his regret, than it will be better that he faced trial.

A request for a two-week adjournment because of the unavailability of Rahul’s lawyer Kapil Sibal was ignored and the matter was posted for hearing on July 27.

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photo courtesy: PTI

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