The Supreme Court has issued a notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi in connection with a contempt petition filed against him.
The court has sought an explanation from him to be provided on or before Monday, 22 April. The next hearing will be on 23 April.
"You are right to the extent we never said anything," the Supreme Court said, tweeted The Deccan Herald’s legal reporter Ashish Tripathi.
"“The views and observations attributed to this court in alleged address made by Gandhi to the media and public has been incorrectly attributed to this court.” " - Supreme Court
The Congress on Monday said it will provide an explanation to the Supreme Court for party chief Rahul Gandhi's his remarks on the Rafale case verdict.
"They (Supreme Court) have sought an explanation. We will give an explanation to them," senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal told reporters, when asked about the SC order on contempt plea filed by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi against Gandhi.
The Case: BJP’s Lekhi Moves SC Against Rahul Gandhi Over Rafale Comments
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi on Friday, 12 April, moved the Supreme Court to take criminal contempt action against Congress President Rahul Gandhi after the latter’s comment on the Rafale case, where he welcomed the apex court order.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Lekhi, told the bench that the Congress president reportedly made a remark that the "Supreme Court said chowkidar chor hai" in the verdict.
Lekhi had claimed in her petition, “The words used and attributed by him to SC in the Rafale case has been made to appear something else. He is replacing his personal statement as Supreme Court's order and trying to create prejudice,” reported ANI.
Lekhi, who is a sitting Lok Sabha MP from New Delhi constituency, in her plea alleged that Gandhi has attributed his personal remarks to the top court and tried to create prejudice.
Lekhi, in her plea, said Gandhi has attributed his personal remarks to the top court and tried to create prejudice.
"“I am happy, I have been saying so for months that India’s PM [Modi] has given the Air Force’s money to Anil Ambani, and the SC has accepted it. The SC is going to investigate it.”" - Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi’s Remarks ‘Incorrectly Attributed’: SC
The Supreme Court Monday, 15 April, made it clear that remarks made by Rahul Gandhi in the media on the Rafale case verdict were "incorrectly attributed" to the apex court and directed the Congress President to give his explanation by 22 April .
The apex court said it will consider the petition filed by BJP MP Lekhi seeking contempt action against Gandhi for attributing some observations to the apex court which was not in the Rafale judgement.
"“We make it clear that views, observations, findings attributed to this court in the alleged speeches, remarks made by Gandhi to media/public have been incorrectly attributed to this court. We also make it clear that this court had no occasion to make such observation in as much as it was deciding legal admissibility of certain documents which were objected by the attorney general.”" - a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
“Having clarified the matter we deem it appropriate to seek explanation of Gandhi," the bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said.
‘SC Made it Clear That PM Modi Committed a Theft’ Says Rahul, BJP Objects
The Congress president had on 10 April claimed that the apex court has made it “clear” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “committed a theft”.
He had made the statement while interacting with reporters in Amethi after filing his nomination papers where he is contesting against BJP leader and Union minister Smriti Irani.
Gandhi had also recalled a recent interview by the prime minister, in which Modi had said the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to his government on the Rafale deal.
“Now the SC has made it clear that ‘chowkidar ji’ (watchman) has committed a theft,” Gandhi had told reporters after filing his nomination papers from the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency.
Additionally, Gandhi also claimed that the apex court has “accepted that there is some corruption in Rafale”.
This is attribution is what Lekhi objected to.
The apex court had earlier cleared the Modi government of accusations of corruption over the Rafale deal with France. But on Tuesday, 9 April, said it will hear a review petition on the basis of the new documents, referred to by the petitioners.
By Misquoting SC, ‘Rahul is Showing Frustration’: Sitharaman
The Supreme Court had on Wednesday, 10 April, allowed the plea of petitioners relying on leaked documents to seek review of its Rafale judgement and dismissed the government's preliminary objections claiming "privilege" over them, reported PTI.
“I want to thank the SC. It's a very happy day. The SC has talked about justice. Justice has prevailed," he had added.
After these comments, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused Gandhi of contempt of court.
Sitharaman claimed Gandhi misquoted the court, and that order was only about whether the alleged illegally obtained documents submitted by the petitioners should be considered in court, reported NDTV.
“Rahul Gandhi has completely showed his frustration by saying what the court had not said,” added Sitharaman to NDTV.
(With inputs from PTI and NDTV)
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