The Supreme Court of India has issued a contempt of court notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi over a contempt of court case filed by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi. The case will be listed on Tuesday next week, along with the review petition against the Rafale deal.
Meenakshi Lekhi had filed the case after Rahul Gandhi had said in Amethi that Supreme Court has agreed that ‘chowkidar chor hai’, after the top court accepted the leaked documents in the Rafale review petition, rejecting government’s objection. Rahul Gandhi has said that by rejecting the government’s objections and accepting the leaked documents, Supreme Court has said that there was a scam in the Rafale deal and confirmed that chowkidar chor hai. The Supreme Court has already said that charges against the Rafale deal are baseless in its December 2018 order, and although it has accepted the review petitions, it has not stayed its earlier judgement. Therefore, Rahul Gandhi lied when he attributed the comment to the Supreme Court.
Yesterday Rahul Gandhi filed an affidavit responding to the contempt, where he denied all the allegations made against him. Although he regretted attributing the chowkidar chor hai comment to the court, he claimed that he did so in heat of the moment as he made the comment without knowing the SC order in detail.
Presenting case before the 3-judge bench, Mukul Rohatgi on behalf of Lekhi said that Rahul Gandhi’s reply is only a lip-service and he has not offered any apology, and the regret was also expressed in brackets. Hearing the case, chief justice Ranjan Gogoi asked, “who is chowkidar?”. To this Rohatgi replied that Rahul Gandhi is saying everywhere that Supreme Court has said chowkidar chor hai and PM Narendra Modi is the chowkidar.
To this, the CJI said, “will we use the word ‘Chowkidar’ in our order? How can that be a submission”. The court then asked the Rohatgi to file an affidavit putting everything in detail. The CJI said that the matter should be heard with the main review petitions of the Rafale deal.
Appearing on behalf of Rahul Gandhi, lawyer and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi intervened that no notice was issued in an important matter like this. To this, the CJI rebutted that the defect can be corrected right way by using the notice of contempt against Singhvi. He also reiterated that Rahul Gandhi wrongly attributed the comment to SC, but he himself stands by the allegation that chowkidar chor hai.
After the conclusion of arguments, the court refused to close the matter. A formal notice was issued to Rahul Gandhi in the contempt of court case, which will be listed along with review petition for the Rafale case on April 30.