By: Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate
It definitely cannot be taken lightly by anyone when none other than one of the most sharpest and eminent legal luminary that India has ever produced and so also President of Supreme Court Bar Association on three occasions and that too way back in 1995-96, 1997-1998 and 2001-2002 and having held many other prestigious posts like that of Additional Solicitor General of India with more than fifty years of most distinguished experience and that too in none other than the Supreme Court itself that is Kapil Sibal himself says on record about Rahul Gandhi’s conviction that both the process and the outcome of the 2019 case are bizarre. Sibal minced just no words to say that, “Legal processes are used far too often for political ends. I have no doubt that there will be a stay on conviction. This is absurd, the order is bizarre. It does not make sense to me. The individuals don’t go to court, some person who is a BJP member, whose name ends with Modi goes to court.”
In addition, this BJP member who went to court is a former Minister also in the Gujarat State Government of BJP. Of course, what Kapil Sibal has pointed out is really far too serious and it merits prompt corrective measures to restore the faith of the people in the judiciary which is so very vital for the successful functioning of a democratic country like ours. Kapil Sibal is pretty confident that there will be a stay on conviction.
It must be noted that eminent and senior lawyer and so also President of Supreme Court Bar Association – Vikas Singh while reacting on Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in Surat said that before Election Commission declares by-elections to be held in his constituency of Wayanad in Kerala, Rahul would have to go to the higher court to restore his Lok Sabha membership and will have to get his conviction sentence suspended and also stay on his conviction. Vikas Singh further added that, “If his conviction is stayed then his membership can be restored. For this he will have to promptly turn to the appellate court.”
Another eminent lawyer and Constitutional expert Rakesh Dwivedi also termed the disqualification of Rahul as MP “illegal” because he has not been given the time of 30 days. Yet another one of the most eminent legal luminary and former Additional Solicitor General of India and senior Supreme Court lawyer rated among the top lawyers of India – Abhishek Manu Singhvi who was designated senior at a very young age too minced just no words to say that, “We believe the judgment is full of errors. Judgment will be challenged and we hope it will ultimately be quashed.” Singhvi also termed it as the worst kind of political vendetta against Rahul Gandhi by ruling government.
Not stopping here, Singhvi also pointed out that the complainant of the case took stay on his own complaint from the High Court. Singhvi also raised very serious questions over the change of Judge in the matter which cannot be just brushed aside and put the sequence of the case before the media. He also further added that, “We are confident that we will get a stay of the conviction which will remove the very basis of this disqualification. We have full faith in the law. We believe we will emerge victorious in the near future.”
Adding more to it, Singhvi further pointed out in simple, suave and straightforward words that, “The decision given by the Magistrate of Surat regarding the statement of Kolar is a violation of Section 202. The government is deliberately trying to suppress voices every day by imposing false cases, but Congress or Rahul Gandhi will not hesitate to raise issues of public interest.” Still more, Singhvi further said quite confidently that, “This is the first decision and the lowest decision in the judicial hierarchy, we will take it to the higher court. This is a wrong decision and cannot be supported in law. We are sure that a positive decision will come on the subject.”
Even my senior and distinguished colleague in Meerut Bar – Parvez Alam with more than two decades of experience and who is also a High Court lawyer and so also a Supreme Court lawyer too pointed out unequivocally that Rahul Gandhi was raising his voice most strongly against those corrupt persons like Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and others who after conveniently amassing crores and crores of illegal money from India had fled away so easily with that ill gotten wealth to other countries abroad and he had not targeted any particular caste or surname nor was it his intention to do so. Parvez further said that Rahul Gandhi is a kind hearted person with a very strong conviction who never hides what he has in his heart and he speaks without fearing any person and he has been unnecessarily maligned too much. I must definitely concede that what my senior colleague – Parvez pointed out after deliberating has certainly a lot of merit in it! Parvez too further also expressed full confidence that Rahul Gandhi would win the case in the higher court and he also pointed out that we saw how hard he worked in his Bharat Jodo yatra concluded just some time back and had unflinching faith that he will be able to revive Congress in the coming years!
Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar minced no words to condemn the verdict and said that it was an attempt to suppress the voice of opposition leaders. He said in no uncertain terms that, “I express my serious concerns at the attempts to curtail fundamental rights, freedom of speech and democratic expression in the country. The repeated attempts to suppress the voice of political parties, leaders and citizens of India is a matter of grave concern. Today’s judgment of Rahul Gandhi underscores the point.”
Even eminent film actress Swara Bhaskar has expressed her utmost displeasure over Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha calling it ‘blatant misuse of law’ and ‘strong arm tactics’. She also shared the news about Rahul Gandhi losing the Lok Sabha seat and wrote, ‘That’s how scared they are of so-called ‘Pappu’! Blatant misuse of law to ensure that Rahul Gandhi’s growing popularity, credibility & stature are curbed and clear strong-arm tactics for 2024 Lok Sabha that RG now cannot contest.. My guess is RG will come out of this taller.”
Actor-politician Kamal Hassan tweeted supporting Rahul Gandhi and said the Congress leader has seen more testing times and unfair moments and just like before he will not just sail through but emerge more stronger. In his tweet, Kamal Hassan hastened to add stating that, “Our judicial system is robust enough to correct aberrations in dispensation of justice. We are sure, you will get your justice on your appeal of the Surat Court’s decision! Satyameva Jayate!” No doubt, a very balanced stand taken by Kamal Hassan indeed! He has reaffirmed his full faith in the Indian judiciary and that truth shall prevail finally!
On a personal note, I too will also definitely not raise any question marks on the ruling by the court of Surat which convicted Rahul Gandhi. Being a lawyer myself I have to definitely respect what a court rules and abide unflinchingly by what the court rules as my former teacher who once in a few months used to come and give lectures on various key topics of law in Symbiosis Law College in Pune and one of the most experienced lawyer of India with more than seven and a half decades of most distinguished experience in the Supreme Court itself – late Shri Ram Jethmalani always advocated and who himself even in his last days was very critical that why Centre is not taking steps to bring back all the black money from abroad stored in various banks like Swiss banks! I am however pretty sure that truth shall definitely prevail finally. Rahul Gandhi comes from a very good family with excellent track record whose father and former PM of India from 1984 to 1989 and so also the leader of Opposition till he died late Shri Rajiv Gandhi was killed by the suicide bomber in 1991 and so also his grand mother and former PM late Mrs Indira Gandhi who was most instrumental in partitioning Pakistan into Pakistan and Bangladesh and who dealt with militancy in Punjab with iron hands for which she was killed by her own Sikh body guards whom she treated like her own family member and never doubted them! Even the great grand father of Rahul Gandhi – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stayed in prison for so many years while fighting relentlessly against the British rule!
It definitely cannot be glossed over that all doors are still not closed for Rahul Gandhi and he can definitely stage an amazing comeback if his legal team play their cards well in the appellate court by arguing most flawlessly in Rahul’s favour and pointing out how his anger against few corrupt Modis like Nirav Modi who after looting huge money had fled abroad so easily was misinterpreted to defaming the whole particular surname of Modi which never was his intention. Rahul Gandhi has himself also just recently clarified that he never sought foreign intervention in India’s matters and he had been misquoted and he never abused any particular surname and had only lashed out against particular corrupt individuals. A mountain should not be made out of a molehill and Rahul Gandhi behind whom so many Opposition leaders have rallied behind I am sure will contribute immensely once his membership is restored after he wins his case successfully from the higher courts or the highest court! But till then we have to do nothing but just wait and watch and keep our fingers totally crossed! Rahul Gandhi too only spoke on Gautam Adani in his recent press conference and that’s all!