SC asks Rahul to file another affidavit on his remarks

Last Updated 17 July 2019, 08:51 IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday told Congress president Rahul Gandhi that he cannot contradict himself by expressing regret for attributing his remarks ‘PM Narendra Modi, chowkidar is thief’ to the top court and then go on justifying it.

“Everyone can make a mistake, you should admit it,” the court told him.

It also sought an apology through an affidavit, which would be a third chance for Rahul, for attributing to the court the statement he made after the Rafale judgement on April 10 for considering review petitions.

The bench, allowing him to file a fresh affidavit, clarified, “We are making it clear that it should not be treated as liberty or acknowledgement of his defence.”

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Rahul, read out his affidavit in response to the court’s notice on a contempt petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, “I say sorry for attributing the ‘chowkidar’ comment to the Supreme Court.”

He also submitted that he was ready to apologise too but Rahul made a political statement.

“We are not concerned with your political statement. We want you to apologise for your attribution to us,” a bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told Singhvi.

Singhvi maintained that he has checked the dictionary — regret meant an apology. He, however, said he is ready to apologise.

“You have contradicted yourself in the affidavit. At one place, you admit your statement but at another, you deny saying it. If you start arguing on the basis of this affidavit, we won’t give you another opportunity to file a better affidavit,” the bench told him.

The bench, also comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph, sought to know where he has tendered an apology in his affidavits.

“Once you start your argument, don’t turn back to say you want to file a fresh affidavit,” the bench told him. Flummoxed with the observation, Singhvi sought permission to convince the bench.

“If there is a deficiency, give me an opportunity to file a better affidavit,” he said.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Lekhi, said his two affidavits were the grossest form of contempt. It was misleading the nation, the court was not dealing with his political slogan. “Everything is a cock and bull story here.
He is putting words into SC’s mouth,” he said, adding that contempt was deliberate and repeated.

At the outset, the court told Singhvi, “It seems you are compelling us. We have restrained ourselves. Where is your regret? You are taking 28 pages to say all this. We want to know the meaning of regret expressed in bracket.” The court put the petition for consideration on Monday.

(Published 30 April 2019, 11:16 IST)

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