Chowkidar Chor Hai controversy: Supreme Court closes contempt case against Rahul Gandhi with word of caution

The Supreme Court on Thursday closed the contempt case against Congress MP Rahul Gandhi for attributing Chowkidar Chor Hai comments to the top court. The Supreme Court Bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph accepted Gandhi’s apology and decided not proceed further on the contempt plea filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi.

The court, however, issued a word of caution to the Congress leader to be careful with his comments in the future. The Bench said that a ‘person holding such a position must be careful.’ Justice Kaul, for his part, observed that the court could not be dragged into political discourse.

In April, right in the middle of the Lok Sabha election campaign, the top court rejected the Narendra Modi government’s objections on the admissibility of three key documents related to the Rafale deal. The development was widely deemed as a huge setback to the Centre.

Reacting to the Supreme Court, Gandhi had told reporters, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said in yet another scripted interview that the Supreme Court had given him a clean chit in the Rafale deal. Today, the Supreme Court has indicated that a theft has taken place in the Rafale deal.” He added, “The entire country is saying that chowkidar has committed theft. It is a day of celebration that the Supreme Court has talked about justice.”

Modi had lost his cool when an ABP News journalist had asked him about his role in the Rafale scam. He had replied angrily, “Will you not believe even the Supreme Court? If ABP News doesn’t believe in the Supreme Court, then there can be no bigger misfortune than this. Will you not trust the CAG? Will you not accept what the French President had to say?”

Taking note of Gandhi’s comments attributing them to the Supreme Court, Lekhi had filed a contempt plea in the Supreme Court.

The court also heard a review petition filed by Advocate Prashant Bhushan, former union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie on the alleged irregularities in the purchase of Rafale jets saying it lacked merits.

The Bench said that there was no need to file an FIR in the case adding that the scope of judicial review in such matters was very limited.


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