‘Heat of political campaigning’: Rahul Gandhi regrets misquoting SC on Rafale order

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said the comment was made in the ‘heat of the political campaigning’. (File)

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday expressed regret for "incorrectly attributing" a remark on the contentious Rafale deal to the Supreme Court, saying the comment was made in the "heat of the political campaigning" and that is was misused by his political opponents.

In an undertaking to the top court, Gandhi said, "I will not attribute any views, observations or findings to the Court in political addresses to the media and in public speeches, unless such views, observations or findings are recorded by the Court."

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The top court had sought an explanation from the Congress chief after BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi filed a contempt petition, seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against him.

Seeking stringent action against Gandhi, Lekhi tweeted, "It's an admission of guilt and thus contempt. Considering the need to protect the integrity of the court in these testing times, such an admission is a vindication of the petition. I hope and pray that it is responded with strictest rebuke by the court."

In her plea, Lekhi had contended that Gandhi, while referring to the court's April 10 order rejecting the Centre's objections to the admissibility of certain documents submitted by review petitioners, had attributed his own statements about 'chowkidar chor hai' to the court ruling.

After the bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna clarified that it had not made any such observation, Union Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad asked the Election Commission to take "serious cognisance" of Gandhi's comments, saying it amounted to violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Prasad even played a video clip before reporters in which Gandhi can be heard saying "Supreme Court ne clear kar diya hai ki chowkidarji ne chori karwai (Supreme Court has made it clear that chowkidarji got the theft done)".

Appearing for Lekhi, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the court had not said any such thing and had only decided on the admissibility of certain papers. The CJI then replied, "you are right to the extent we didn't say it".