Senior Congress leader and Wayanad MP were disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP on Friday, a day after the Surat court convicted Gandhi in a defamation case.
The Parliament carried a notification that cited Gandhi’s conviction by the Court of Surat to disqualify Rahul Gandhi from the membership of Lok Sabha. The notification also stated that disqualification is dated to his conviction.
— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) March 24, 2023
We will fight this battle both legally and politically. We will not be intimidated or silenced. Instead of a JPC into the PM-linked Adani MahaMegaScam, @RahulGandhi stands disqualified. Indian Democracy Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/d8GmZjUqd5
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) March 24, 2023
Rahul Gandhi was convicted by a Surat District Court on March 23, for a 2019 case where he referred to thieves having the surname Modi. Rahul Gandhi has been convicted under IPC sections 499 and 500. The maximum possible punishment for Rahul Gandhi can extend up to 2 years. However, the 52-year-old leader was granted bail and his conviction was suspended for 30 days for him to challenge the decision of the Surat Court.
“A disqualification under either subsection shall not, in the case of a person who on the date of the conviction is a member of Parliament or the Legislature of a State, take effect until three months have elapsed from that date or if within that period an appeal or application for revision is brought in respect of the conviction or the sentence until that appeal or application is disposed of by the court.” says Section 8(3) in the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Reaction on Mr Rahul Gandhi's disqualification pic.twitter.com/WCBDBxDL5n
— Derek O'Brien | ডেরেক ও'ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) March 24, 2023
For Rahul Gandhi to be able to contest elections in the next year’s Lok Sabha Elections, the decision of the Surat court needs to be overturned or get suspended by the higher courts.
The law states that when a member of parliament is sentenced to imprisonment of two or more years, he shall be disqualified “from the date of such conviction… and remain disqualified for another six years after serving time.”
For anyone raising questions on Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification, here is senior lawyer and long time Congressman Kapil Sibal explaining why it was inevitable… pic.twitter.com/IEKVH177PI
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) March 24, 2023
The disqualification can also be overturned and the lawmaker reinstated to parliament if the conviction is stayed or overturned and a fresh election to the seat is yet to be conducted. Besides, even if the MP can reduce the duration of sentence to under 2 years, that would nullify the disqualification.
Recent disqualifications from the Indian Parliament :
Lalu Yadav, Azam Khan, Abdullah Azam Khan, Mohammad Faizal, Rasheed Masud, and J Jayalalithaa.