The Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed a petition by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker demanding that the transcript of a speech delivered by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi be admitted as an evidence in a case against him, PTI reported.
The case pertains to a speech made by Gandhi ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, in which he allegedly blamed the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Rajesh Kunte, a worker of the Hindutva organisation, had filed a criminal defamation case against Gandhi in connection with the remarks.
Gandhi had earlier approached the High Court seeking to quash the complaint against him. In his petition, he had attached a transcript of his speech, according to Bar and Bench.
Kunte contended that the Congress leader, by attaching the text of his speech, “unambiguously owned up the speech, even though in the petition he tried to justify the speech for various grounds”. He demanded that the transcript of the speech should be considered as a proof under the Code of Criminal Procedure, The Indian Express reported.
On September 10, 2018, a magistrate court in Thane district’s Bhiwandi city had rejected Kunte’s petition, after which he approached the High Court.
During an earlier hearing, Gandhi’s lawyer Kushal Mor had argued that the RSS worker had filed the petition with an intention to delay the trial.
The lawyer had referred to Section 294 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with admission and denial of documents. He said that the law was intended to reduce the evidence required by the prosecution, and its objective was “not to bind the accused person or force him to admit or deny the genuineness of the documents produced by prosecution”, according to Bar and Bench.
The High Court had reserved its verdict on August 11. On Monday, Justice Revati Mohite-Dere rejected Kunte’s petition.
In 2015, Gandhi had turned down the Supreme Court’s offer to express regret for his remarks in order to get the defamation case quashed. He stood by his remarks when he appeared before the court in Bhiwandi in November 2016, but was granted bail.