Friday, 02 Jun, 2023


India’s Rahul Gandhi disqualified from parliament

International Desk  |
Update: 2023-03-24 15:34:45
India’s Rahul Gandhi disqualified from parliament [Photo Collected]

India’s main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified as a member of parliament, a day after being convicted in a defamation case and sentenced to two years in jail.

“Rahul Gandhi… stands disqualified from the member of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction,” a notice issued by the parliament said on Friday, referring to the lower house.

Gandhi, 52, was found guilty for a speech ahead of the 2019 general election in which he referred to thieves as having the surname Modi.

Gandhi, a scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, will appeal in a higher court, his party said.

Congress members held protests in some parts of the country on Friday against Gandhi’s conviction and two-year-old jail sentence.

Congress officials have described the court order as politically motivated and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of targeting political opponents.

Here is how Gandhi lose his parliament seat:

What does the law say?

The Representation of the People Act, 1951, the law that governs elections in India, mandates the disqualification of any politician who is “convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years”.

Gandhi was on Thursday found guilty of defamation. The disqualification comes into effect from the date of conviction.

Kapil Sibal, a top Indian lawyer and former federal law minister, told NDTV news channel on Thursday that while Gandhi stood automatically disqualified as a legislator, his two-year jail sentence itself was “bizarre”.

“If it (the court) only suspends the sentence, that is not enough. There has to be a suspension or stay of conviction. He (Gandhi) can stay on as a member of parliament only if there is a stay on the conviction,” said Sibal, who is also a former member of the Congress party.

Can Gandhi contest elections?

Gandhi now faces the risk of not being able to contest national elections due in 2024 if his conviction is not suspended or overturned by a higher court before the elections.

The law also mandates that a convicted legislator cannot contest elections for six years after the end of their jail sentence.

Gandhi represents the Wayanad constituency in the southern state of Kerala.

Source: Al Jazeera 

BDST: 1534 HRS, MAR 24, 2023

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