NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will hear an appeal by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday to quash the defamation case filed against him by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
In 2014, while addressing a rally in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, Rahul had alleged that members of the RSS had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948.
Gandhi was reported as saying, “RSS people killed Gandhi ji. They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhi ji.”
In May 2015, Rahul had moved the Supreme Court, seeking a dismissal of the criminal case. Later, on July 19, 2016, the Supreme Court said that indulging in ‘collective denunciation’ against an organisation is wrong.
Signalling major trouble for Gandhi, the apex court rapped the Congress vice-president, saying he must face a trial.
The Congress vice-president has maintained that his statement on RSS’ involvement in the Mahatma Gandhi killing was a historical fact and his counsel has asserted that his statement was within his right to free speech.
The case was by filed by RSS worker Rajesh Kunte against Gandhi in a Maharashtra court for allegedly blaming the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
On May 7 last year, the apex court had stayed proceedings against the Congress vice-president, pending before a magisterial court in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra’s Thane district.
It was alleged by Kunte, the secretary of the Bhiwandi unit of the RSS, that the Congress vice president had told an election rally at Sonale on March 6 that “RSS people killed Gandhi ji”.
He said Rahul had sought to tarnish the reputation of the RSS through his speech.
Following the complaint, the magistrate’s court had initiated proceedings and issued a notice to Gandhi, directing him to appear before it.
The Congress leader then approached the high court seeking exemption from appearance and quashing of the complaint.
Gandhi’s lawyers had argued that complaint was motivated and malafide and deserved to be quashed.