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Supreme Court reserves orders on petition against Rahul Gandhi

The Supreme Court on Friday reserved for orders a criminal contempt plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who has unconditionally apologised for wrongfully attributing the phrase “Chowkidar chor hai” to the court.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi witnessed a brief war of words between senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, for Ms. Lekhi, and senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, for Mr. Gandhi.

Mr. Rohatgi repeatedly said Mr. Gandhi was “cornered” into giving an apology after the court refused to accept his earlier two affidavits in the case.

Mr. Singhvi said that far from being “cornered”, his client had “gracefully” apologised to the court.

‘Apology to the public’

Mr. Rohatgi even submitted that Mr. Gandhi should now apologise to the public for leading them astray about the court.

“He made people believe that this court actually said ‘Chowkidar chor hai’,” Mr. Rohatgi contended.

But the court simply reserved the case before moving on.

Mr. Gandhi had made the remark to the media in reaction to a Supreme Court verdict on April 10 allowing the maintainability of the Rafale review petitions.

Affidavit given

In his affidavit, Mr. Gandhi, through advocate Sunil Fernandes, had urged the court may “graciously be pleased to accept the instant affidavit and close the present contempt proceedings”.

On April 30, the court was categorical that Mr. Gandhi had either to offer a clear-cut apology or brave criminal contempt for attributing the “Chowkidar chor hai” remark targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the court.

“Any person can make a mistake, but having made it, you should go ahead and admit it,” Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had told Mr. Singhvi on April 30.

Mr. Gandhi, before he apologised, had maintained that the comment “Chowkidar chor hai” was made with a rhetorical flourish in the heat of political campaigning.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 7:59:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-reserves-orders-on-petition-against-rahul-gandhi/article27097532.ece

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