A magistrate court in Thane will hear Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's plea for permanent exemption from appearance in defamation proceedings against him by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) secretary on December 3.
On March 6, 2014, Mr Gandhi had made a speech in Bhiwandi holding the organization responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. He had said, “RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (Bharatiya Janata Party) talk of him...They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji.” Soon thereafter, Rajesh Kunte, secretary of the Bhiwandi unit of RSS registered a First Information Report against Mr Gandhi.
On December 6, 2018, Mr Gandhi had appeared before a local court in Bhiwandi and pleaded “not guilty” for the charges of section 499 (defamation) and section 500 (punishment for defamation) which can be a simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both under the Indian Penal Code.
The court had then told Mr Gandhi, "You have defamed the complainant’s organisation and have said, RSS ke logon ne goli maari aur Sardar Patel ne likha hain. Therefore, the reputation of the complainant and the organisation was harmed under section 499 and section 500.” Mr Gandhi had replied, “I plead not guilty.”
In April 2022, a magistrate court had imposed a fine of ₹1,000 against Mr Kunte for seeking an adjournment in the case. Advocate appearing for Mr Gandhi had filed an application in 2022 on behalf of the member of parliament from Wayanad, Kerala seeking permanent exemption from appearance in the case. Joint civil judge and judicial magistrate first class LC Wadikar will hear on December 3.
The Gandhi scion is out on bail since November 16, 2016 on the personal surety of Shivraj Patil who submitted land documents of a place in Latur.