The Lok Sabha secretariat today restored the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s membership in the Lower House.
The decision was taken after the supreme court stayed Mr. Gandhi’s conviction in a criminal defamation case. He was disqualified from the Lok Sabha in March this year.
Soon after Mr Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership was restored, he reached Parliament and offered floral tributes at Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament House complex.
Mr. Gandhi is set to return to the Lok Sabha as the representative of his constituency, Wayanad. This return occurs amidst a series of disruptions within the parliament due to INDIA’s Opposition bloc’s persistent call for a dedicated discussion on the violence in Manipur, to be preceded by a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the same issue.
After his membership was reinstated, the Congress party has expressed its desire for Mr. Gandhi to play a significant role as a speaker during the upcoming debate on a no-confidence motion scheduled for Tuesday in the Lok Sabha.
Senior Congress MP Shashi Tharoor called it “a victory for justice and for our democracy”.
“With enormous relief, welcome the official announcement of @RahulGandhi’s reinstatement. He can now resume his duties in the Lok Sabha to serve the people of India and his constituents in Wayanad. A victory for justice and for our democracy!” he tweeted.
The Supreme Court issued a stay on Rahul Gandhi’s conviction on Friday and acknowledged that although his remarks were in poor taste, his removal from parliament would impact his constituents.
The trial judge had imposed the maximum two-year sentence in the case, which the highest court noted would not have resulted in MP disqualification had the sentence been one day shorter. The judges emphasised, “The ramifications of disqualification not just affects the rights of the individual but also the electorate.”
In May, Mr. Gandhi faced disqualification after receiving a two-year prison term in a defamation case stemming from his comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname. During a rally in Kolar, Karnataka, prior to the 2019 general election, Mr. Gandhi had quipped, “Why do all the thieves have Modi as a common surname?”
Following a respite granted by the highest court, Mr. Gandhi, who has steadfastly declined to offer an apology, posted on Twitter, “Come what may, my duty remains the same. Protect the idea of India”
Numerous other criminal defamation suits are awaiting resolution against Mr. Gandhi, one of which involves “the high-profile case of mudslinging the venerable Veer Savarkar,” filed by the BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya.