New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday refused to settle by compromise a defamation case filed against him by a RSS activist for allegedly blaming the outfit for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and to give the whole controversy a “decent burial”.
Gandhi took the position as a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant sought to carve out a way to give the issue a “decent burial”.
Suggesting a decent way to bury the defamation case, the bench suggested a draft order which accommodated the position taken by both the sides.
It said that senior counsel M.N. Krishnamani appearing for RSS member Rajesh Kunte insists that Congress vice president should express regret for his statement linking RSS to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, while former minister and senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress leader, said Rahul Gandhi made the statement relying on certain high court judgments.
As the court said: “I think this can be ended in a decent way and get the defamation case buried,” Sibal said that the complaint was motivated, malafide and deserved to be dismissed. He said that besides high court judgments, there were other materials and he would argue the matter.
At this Krishnamani said that if they want to contest, his side will also contest.
While extending its May 7 order staying proceedings against Rahul Gandhi in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra’s Thane, the court asked Kunte to file his reply in four weeks and gave another four weeks to Rahul Gandhi to file his rejoinder.
However, the court said that it had reserved verdict on a batch of petitions including by Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenging the constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code providing for criminal defamation.
It said that if it allows these petitions, then nothing would survive in the case and it would end.