Will not apologise for Modi surname remark: Rahul Gandhi to SC

Will not apologise for Modi surname remark: Rahul Gandhi to SC


On Wednesday, the 2nd of August, Congress leader and Former Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi filed a rejoinder affidavit in the Supreme Court in relation to his appeal against his disqualification from the parliament. In the affidavit, he reiterated that he will not apologise for his Modi surname remark that led to his conviction by the lower court and subsequent disqualification from Lok Sabha. He submitted that if he had to apologise for his remarks, he would have done it earlier. 

In the rejoinder affidavit, Rahul Gandhi’s counsel submitted, “The petitioner (Rahul Gandhi) maintains and has always maintained that he is not guilty of the offence, and if he had to apologise and compound the offence, he would have done it much earlier.” 

In the 63-page affidavit, Gandhi claimed that he has not committed any serious offence and there is no defamation case made out against him. He has argued that criminal defamation is not a serious offence involving moral turpitude. The affidavit further states that defamation is only one of the 22 offences under the IPC that attracts only simple imprisonment and not rigorous imprisonment.

Rahul Gandhi has requested the Supreme Court to stay his two-year suspension in the defamation case so that he can attend the ongoing parliament session and the sessions in future.

Rahul Gandhi’s counsel has filed this rejoinder affidavit in response to the counter-affidavit filed by the complainant in the case, Purnesh Modi, who has opposed the suspension of the conviction awarded by the lower courts against the Congress leader. 

Earlier, in his counter affidavit, Purnesh Modi submitted that Rahul Gandhi had shown arrogance rather than being apologetic for his contentious Modi surname remark. 

Rahul Gandhi’s counsel has registered their protest for using the term “arrogant” against him. The rejoinder affidavit alleged that the use of the criminal process for extracting an apology from the petitioner is a gross abuse of the judicial process.   

The affidavit states, “Using the criminal process and the consequences under the Representation of Peoples’ Act to arm-twist the petitioner into apologising for no fault, is a gross abuse of the judicial process and ought not to be countenanced.” 

Further, Rahul Gandhi, through his rejoinder affidavit, has claimed that there is no community or samaj on record that goes by the surname ‘Modi’. The affidavit added that as a result of this, the offence of defaming the Modi community as a whole does not arise. 

Gandhi has stated that people having the surname Modi may fall into different communities or castes. 

The affidavit states, “There is no Modi samaj or community established on record and there are only Modi Vanika Samaj or Modh Ghanchi Samaj existing … [Complainant] has also admitted that the Modi surname falls under various other castes. There is also the admission that Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, and Mehul Choksi all do not fall within the same caste.” 

Claiming that the stay on conviction doesn’t harm the complaint, Gandhi has sought relief from the apex court. 

The affidavit read, “On the other hand, there is no prejudice caused at all to the complainant. It is therefore prayed for that the conviction of Rahul Gandhi be stayed, enabling him to participate in the ongoing sittings of the Lok Sabha and the sessions thereafter.”

The matter is scheduled for a hearing in the top court on August 4.

Case history

The case pertains to 2019 criminal defamation case against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. In his election speech in Koral, Karnataka, Rahul Gandhi had mocked an entire community by saying, “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi… how come they all have Modi as a common surname? How come all thieves have Modi as a common surname?”

After the court trial, on the 23rd of March, 2023, a magisterial court in Gujarat convicted Rahul Gandhi in connection with his Modi surname remark. The court sentenced him to  

two-year imprisonment which subsequently lead to his disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP. 

According to the Representation of People’s Act (RPA), a conviction of two or more years immediatedly leads to disqualification from the Parliament or state assemblies. 

Later on 20 April, the sessions court rejected his plea for a stay on his conviction. Subsequently, the Gandhi scion moved to the Gujarat High Court which cited his stature as an MP and said he should have been more careful in his comments. 

After hearing the matter, on the 7th of July, the high court affirmed the lower courts’ order and rejected his revision application seeking a stay on his conviction. 


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