The bench posted the matter for September 1. PTI 24 Aug 2016 | 4:27 PM
NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that he had never blamed the RSS as an institution that killed Mahatma Gandhi but had stated that a person associated with it was responsible for his assassination.[ + read story ]
New Delhi, August 24
The Supreme Court on Wednesday indicated its willingness to quash the criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi for his alleged remark against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the light of a clarification by the Congress vice-president that he only had blamed RSS people for killing Mahatma Gandhi, not the Sangh as an organisation.
A Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and RF Nariman asked senior advocate UR Lalit, who argued for RSS activist and complainant Rajesh Kunte, as to why the case pending in a magistrate court in Bhiwandi in Thane district of Maharashtra should not be quashed in view of this.
Lalit said his client was willing to withdraw the case if Gandhi made the statement before the Bench. Gandhi’s senior counsel Kapil Sibal, however, pleaded that there was no need for this as his client had already made the assertion in his petition in the Bombay High Court where he had gone for getting the case quashed before coming to the SC. Gandhi’s statement in the HC could be recorded in the apex court order for quashing the case, Sibal pleaded.
At this point, Lalit sought an adjournment so that he could take instructions from his client. The Bench posted the next hearing for September 1 on Gandhi’s appeal against the HC’s refusal to quash the case.
During the hearing, Lalit read out Gandhi’s statement made at an election rally on March 6, 2014: “RSS ke logo ne goli mari.” Sibal pleaded that it was clear from this also that his client had held RSS people responsible, not the RSS. The Bench also remarked: “In that case, the RSS as a body is not affected.”
At the hearing on July 19, the Bench had remarked that Gandhi should not have made “collective denunciation of an organisation” for the act of one of its members. Gandhi’s counsel had not informed the Bench then about his stand in the HC.
On November 26, 2015, Sibal had told the apex court that there was no question of Gandhi regretting his remark. The criminal defamation case against his client was based on a frivolous complaint aimed at harassing the Congress leader, Sibal had pleaded.
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