Rahul Gandhi asks SC to close contempt

Congress President Rahul Gandhi. PTI file photo

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday urged the Supreme Court to close the criminal contempt case filed against him for attributing his statement 'PM Narendra Modi, Chowkidar is thief' to the top court, on the basis of his “unconditional apology”.

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, however, sought action of imprisonment or censure against him by the court for “delayed apology” submitted after having been “cornered” by the court.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph reserved its order on the petition filed by Lekhi.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Lekhi, submitted Rahul Gandhi's apology was a belated one.

“You should reject his apology by awarding imprisonment or censure. He has led the public astray. People treat the SC verdict in high esteem. He should apologise to public,” he said.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Rahul, contended arguments advanced by Rohatgi were meant for those outside the court.

He submitted that the court should close the matter.

“I quoted myself on wrongful attribution in first affidavit. I expressed regret as well, you were not convinced. I have filed a subsequent affidavit tendering unconditional apology,” he told the court.

With regard to Rahul's remark, Singhvi maintained it was a part of political discourse after having been coined about 18 months ago.

Soon after April 10 judgement by the SC allowing admissibility of certain secret documents to reconsider the Rafale judgement, Rahul made statements in Amethi and Katihar, saying the top court had accepted 'PM Modi, Chowkidar was a thief'.

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