The Supreme Court has on today slammed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his remark that RSS is behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, while prima facie indicating that he will have to face trial for criminal defamation and prove his innocence.
A Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra said it would be entirely up to him to prove on merits that he had made the comments during a poll rally in public good. The court admonished Mr. Gandhi for making such "collective" remarks.
“Why did you make a sweeping statement against the RSS branding everyone associated with the organisation in the same brush? You cannot collectively denounce a group,” said the bench.
“RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him. They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji,” Rahul had said while addressing a public rally in Maharashtra’s Thane district in March 2014.
This comment had led to a criminal complaint being filed by a RSS activist Rajesh Kunte against Mr. Gandhi. Mr. Kunte termed the comment as "false, frivolous, baseless and wanton allegations, imputations against the RSS and its people with malafide motive to harm the reputation of RSS, its followers, people, swayamsevaks".
"The case must be decided on merits, whether what you spoke was for public good or not," SC observed. "You can't make denunciation of an organisation," SC said giving ultimatum to Rahul Gandhi.
The hearing saw the Bench adopting a stentorian tone quite different from November last year when it had offered Mr. Gandhi an opportunity to express regret over the remarks and give the issue a "decent burial".
The bench declined Rahul’s request for a two-week adjournment since his lawyer Kapil Sibal is not available before that and posted the matter for hearing on July 27.
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