New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday allowed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to obtain a regular passport for three years, after he surrendered his diplomatic passport following his disqualification from Lok Sabha.
The Rouse Avenue Court granted Gandhi’s request for a no-objection certificate (NOC) – but for only three years and not 10 which the Congress leader had sought. This means Gandhi will have to approach the court for a NOC after three years.
Gandhi was disqualified as an MP following his conviction in a criminal defamation case on 23 March for a 2019 poll-rally remark that “all thieves have the surname Modi”.
He had said: “Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi. How come all thieves have ‘Modi’ as a common surname?”
The case was brought against him by former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi who contended that Gandhi had insulted people with the same surname.
Accepting this argument, a magistrate’s court in Surat sentenced him to two years in prison – a cut-off conviction that automatically disqualifies a lawmaker from the House.
A sessions judge refused to stay this verdict. The court, however, granted some relief to Gandhi, suspending his sentence until his appeal was disposed of. The matter is now in the Gujarat High Court which is likely to pronounce its verdict next month.
The Congress leader’s appeal for a fresh passport was opposed by BJP leader Subramaniyan Swamy – a complainant in the National Herald case against the Gandhis.
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