Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday withdrew his appeal from the Supreme Court for quashing of the defamation case against him by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) over his remarks that the saffron organisation was responsible for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
Former law minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Gandhi, told the apex court that Rahul stands by his statement-“RSS ke logon ne Gandhi ji ko goli mari”.
“He will not withdraw his words and is ready to face trial,” Sibbal told the apex court.
Meanwhile, the top court refused to grant the Congress vice-president exemption from personal appearance before lower court in the defamation case.
Sibbal had on August 24 told the Supreme Court that Rahul never accused the RSS as an institution for the crime.
“‘RSS ke logon ne hatya ki’ is entirely different from ‘RSS had killed Mahatma Gandhi,” Sibbal had told the apex court.
The RSS, the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) filed a defamation case against Gandhi for his speech at a rally in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra in 2014.
Rahul had alleged that RSS members had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948. Gandhi was reported as saying, “RSS people killed Gandhi ji. They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhi ji.”
Gandhi moved the Supreme Court in May 2015 seeking a stay on the Bombay High Court order dismissing his plea for quashing the defamation case.
On July 19, the apex court remarked against Gandhi for indulging in ‘collective denunciation’ against an organisation and said it’s wrong.
It said the Rahul Gandhi might have to face the trial to prove his defence that his statement was an assertion of a historical fact.
Gandhi’s counsel told the court that he was within his right to free speech. They have maintained that the complaint is motivated and malafide and should be quashed.