The Supreme Court will on Thursday deliver its verdict on a criminal contempt petition against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for attributing his “chowkidar chor hai” comment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the top court, PTI reported.
A three-judge bench comprising outgoing Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph had on May 10 reserved judgement in the case. The petition was filed by Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi, who had said his comment caused prejudice in the minds of the people against the prime minister.
In April, the Supreme Court had unanimously dismissed the Centre’s objections to the review petitions seeking an inquiry into the Rafale fighter jet deal. Welcoming the top court’s order, Rahul Gandhi had said: “The entire country is saying that chowkidar has committed theft. It is a day of celebration that the Supreme Court has talked about justice”.
The former Congress president issued an unconditional apology on May 8 for the remark. Gandhi had said the comment was made in a purely political context to counter the “misinformation campaign” that the Supreme Court gave the government a clean chit on December 14. He had expressed regrets that the political slogan unfortunately got “juxtaposed and intermingled” and that the “attributions were entirely unintentional, non-willful and inadvertent”.
“There is no intention, direct, indirect, remote or implied or an attempt in any other manner to violate any court order, obstruct administration of justice or prejudice or interfere with the due course of any judicial proceedings or scandalise the court in any manner,” he had said in his apology. He had also urged the court to end the contempt case against him.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Lekhi, had submitted that the apology tendered by Gandhi should be rejected and urged that action must be taken against him as per law.
The “chowkidar chor hai” slogan was used extensively by Gandhi and the Congress party during the Lok Sabha elections to claim Modi acted as a middleman for industrialist Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal.