Attempting to distance itself from Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Tuesday said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi must tender an apology otherwise he would have to frequently visit the Supreme Court.
“If he has even a bit of respect for the court, he will apologise. If he doesn’t apologise, he will have to frequently visit the court. Let me tell him, his party member Sitaram Kesri had associated the RSS with the murder of Gandhi and he had to apologise. Another leader Arjun Singh had to frequently visit the court. A renowned columnist AG Noorani had to apologise,” RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha said.
Earlier in a day, the Supreme Court found fault with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his reported remark that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
“You can’t make collective denunciation of an organisation” for the act of one of its members, a Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and RF Nariman told Rahul’s senior counsel Harin Raval during a brief hearing.
At the last hearing on November 26, 2015, Sibal had told the apex court that there was no question of Rahul regretting his remark. The criminal defamation case against his client was based on a frivolous complaint aimed at harassing the Congress leader. Going by several judicial pronouncements in similar cases, it was clear the complaint had no legal basis, Sibal had pleaded.
Sibal was responding to a suggestion by a Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant that Gandhi was free to settle the defamation case by expressing regret.
Rahul had also challenged the legal provisions for criminal defamation under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, contending that these ran counter to the freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19(2). The SC has, however, upheld the constitutional validity of these two sections and dismissed a batch of PILs on the issue by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, besides Rahul.