A magistrate court will pass an order on Apri 1 on an application by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi seeking permanent exemption from appearing in ongoing defamation proceedings against him by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) secretary.
Advocate Narayan Iyer had filed an application on behalf of Mr. Gandhi, seeking permanent exemption. He said, “The First Class Judicial Magistrate L.C. Wadikar will pass an order on April 1 in the application and proceed with the matter.”
On March 6, 2014, Mr. Gandhi had made a speech in Bhiwandi holding the RSS responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. He had said, “RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (Bharatiya Janata Party) talk of him…They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji.” Soon thereafter, Rajesh Kunte, secretary of the Bhiwandi unit of the RSS, registered a First Information Report against Mr. Gandhi.
On December 6, 2018, Mr Gandhi had appeared before a local court in Bhiwandi and pleaded “not guilty” to the charges of Section 499 (defamation) and Section 500 (punishment for defamation) which can be a simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both under the Indian Penal Code.
The court had then told the Lok Sabha Member of Parliament, “You have defamed the complainant’s organisation and have said, ‘RSS ke logon ne goli maari aur Sardar Patel ne likha hai’. Therefore, the reputation of the complainant and the organisation was harmed under Section 499 and Section 500.” Mr. Gandhi had replied, “I plead not guilty.”
In April 2022, a magistrate court had imposed a fine of ₹1,000 against Mr. Kunte for seeking an adjournment in the case. Mr. Gandhi has been on bail since November 16, 2016 on the personal surety of Shivraj Patil who submitted land documents of a place in Latur.