The Supreme Court on Thursday continued the interim stay on criminal proceedings against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case against him for his remarks against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. In March this year, Gandhi had said at an election rally that the RSS was responsible for Mahatma Gandhi’s death. Gandhi had moved the Supreme Court in May for quashing the case.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant on Thursday suggested Gandhi express regret over the statement in order to settle the case. However, the politician turned the suggestion down and said he would prefer to argue the case. Gandhi's lawyer Kapil Sibal alleged that the complaint was “motivated and malafide”, and asked for its dismissal. The bench then posted the hearing for February 17, prior to which Gandhi has to appear in a trial court on January 6.

The Supreme Court will soon be pronouncing judgement on a series of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of criminal defamation provisions in the Indian Penal Code. Among the petitions are also two filed by Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal.