New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said that it will first decide on the issue of constitutional validity of penal provisions dealing with criminal defamation before dealing with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's appeal against the Bombay High Court order rejecting quashing of defamation case against him.
A Bench, comprising Justices Dipak Mishra and P C Pant, posted his appeal on July 8 when a batch of writ petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of Section 499 and 500 of IPC dealing with criminal defamation will be taken up. The bench had on May 7 taken up Rahul's petition on the issue and also dealt with the High Court order against him which was stayed.
During the pendency of his appeal against the March 10 order of the High Court, Rahul had filed a writ petition for re-looking at the penal provision for criminal defamation.
Though the apex court had stayed the proceedings against him in a trial court at Thane district of Maharashtra, he had appeared before it on May 8 to comply with the order. The Congress leader had approached the apex court seeking stay on the proceedings in a criminal defamataion case before a trial court for allegedly blaming RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Earlier policticians from rival parties, BJP's Subramanian Swamy and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had also filed the petition seeking to decriminalise the defamation law. All the matters will be heard on July 8.
The case against Rahul Gandhi is pending before a magisterial court in Bhiwandi in Thane in which it was alleged by RSS activist Rajesh Kunte, secretary of Bhiwandi unit of RSS, that Rahul had sought to tarnish the reputation of the Sangh through his speech in an election rally at Sonale on March 6 by saying that “RSS people killed Gandhiji”.