The Supreme Court adopted a tough stance on the submission of “frivolous” petitions on Friday, dismissing a plea to overturn a notification dated August 7, 2023, which had reinstated Congressman Rahul Gandhi’s seat in the Lok Sabha at a cost of Rs 1 lakh.
Rahul Gandhi’s membership in the Lok Sabha was reinstated as a result of an order from the Supreme Court that stayed his conviction in a 2019 defamation case related to his remarks about the surname “Modi.”
On August 4, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed his conviction in the defamation case. Gandhi is the Lower House Parliamentary Representative for Wayanad.
Ashok Pandey, a resident of Lucknow, filed a plea, which was heard by a bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta.
The bench noted that despite the matter being called for hearing twice, Pandey had not shown up before it.
It also made reference to two earlier rulings made by the court regarding different petitions that the petitioner had filed.
The bench observed that those petitions had been dismissed by the highest court with costs of Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 1 lakh, in that order.
It dismissed the plea and assessed the cost, observing that “filing of such frivolous petitions wastes precious time not only of the court but also of the entire registry.”
Rahul Gandhi, the Union of India, the Election Commission of India, and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha were all named as respondents in the petition.
The bench further noted that the petitioner’s issue was the same as the one he had brought up in his previous plea, which had cost Rs 1 lakh and been rejected in October of last year.
The petitioner had contested the reinstatement of Rahul Gandhi as a member of the Lok Sabha in the plea that was rejected in October.
The petitioner was also fined Rs 5 lakh by the supreme court last year for alleging in a different Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that the chief justice of the Bombay High Court had taken a “defective” oath.
On March 24 of last year, Gandhi lost his right to serve as an MP after a Gujarati court found him guilty of criminal defamation and sentenced him to two years in prison for remarks he made about the Modi surname.
Later, the Gujarat High Court denied his request for a stay of conviction, noting that “purity in politics” is urgently needed. The supreme court subsequently stayed his conviction in the matter.
Gandhi’s remark during an April 13, 2019, election rally in Kolar, Karnataka, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” prompted BJP leader Purnesh Modi to file a criminal defamation case against Gandhi in 2019.