Powered by

Rahul Gandhi's disqualification: Speculations over perceived delay in filing appeal

The court has given 30 days to file an appeal

Rahul Gandhi Congress leader Rahul Gandhi | Arvind Jain

The perceived delay by the Congress in appealing in a higher court against the conviction of former party chief Rahul Gandhi for criminal defamation by a district court in Surat has set off intense speculation about the party's plans in the matter that has become a major political issue and set off a keen confrontation between the government and the opposition.

The BJP has described the “delay” in the Congress approaching a higher court in appeal against the district court's order convicting Rahul for criminal defamation and sentencing him to two years' imprisonment as “intentional”. However, the Congress maintains there is no deliberate delay and Rahul's legal team is exercising extreme caution and not leaving anything to chance as it prepares the appeal.

“There is absolutely no delay. The court has given 30 days' time to file an appeal,” said a senior Congress leader.

The leader said the lawyers working on the appeal are being very careful since the plea to be filed in the sessions court will have ramifications in other similar cases that are going on in other parts of the country.

“The appeal in the matter will be extremely important keeping in view the other similar cases that are going on in Patna and Ranchi. The appeal will be in public domain and will be available to the petitioners in Patna and Ranchi,” the leader said.

It was pointed out by the leader that one crucial aspect of the appeal will be the issue of jurisdiction. The judge of the district court, the leader said, has devoted 40 pages of the judgment on the issue of jurisdiction. What is said in appeal against the court order especially with regard to jurisdiction will apply to the cases that are being heard in Patna and Ranchi.

However, despite the Congress's protestations that there is no delay in filing an appeal, there is intense speculation on whether there are differences within the party on the future course of action. There is also speculation with regard to Rahul's own views on the matter and if the perceived lack of urgency in seeking legal remedy could have something to do with it.

Party leaders, meanwhile, insist that an appeal would be filed in the sessions court, and there is no merit in the argument put forth by the BJP that in the case of party leader Pawan Khera's arrest at the Delhi airport, the party's lawyers had immediately approached the Supreme Court. They say that if an appeal were to be filed in the Supreme Court, they are certain that the apex court will send them right back to the sessions court.

📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines