Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has backtracked from his earlier statement and told the Supreme Court that he didn’t blame the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as an institution but only some people associated with the Hindu group for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
With this it looks like the defamation case against the Congress vice president may just be dropped.
RSS worker Rajesh Kunte who filed the criminal defamation case had offered to withdraw the case against Rahul if he absolved the RSS of the assassination.
A bench, comprising justices Dipak Misra and Rohinton F. Nariman, said Gandhi’s affidavit was enough to end the matter but the petitioner requested for more time to respond.
The top court did not quash the case against Rahul and will hear the case again on September 1.
In May 2015 Gandhi moved the top court seeking a stay on a Bombay high court order dismissing his plea for quashing the defamation case.
He has also challenged the constitutionality of criminal defamation, contending that it affects freedom of expression.
On July 2016, the Supreme Court had observed: “You can’t make wholesale denunciation of an organisation. There is a difference between Nathuram Godse killing Mahatma Gandhi and the RSS killing him.”
The bench also questioned Rahul Gandhi about “why he made a speech quoting wrong historical fact.”
Kunte filed a defamation complaint before a Thane district court in 2014, alleging the Congress leader had said “the RSS had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi” during an election rally in Bhiwandi.
In his complaint, Kunte said Gandhi sought to tarnish the reputation of the RSS through his speech.