Congress without Rahul Gandhi?

25 Mar 2023  Read 7003 Views

Rahul Gandhi, convicted of the crime of Defamation, faces disqualification from the membership of Lok Sabha. Although he attained bail, his political career has now become unpredictable. He has been sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment for the crime of Defamation. But, how are MPs disqualified from Parliamentary sessions? What’s the criterion? Hop on the blog to know the details!

What actually happened?

So, during one of his rallies, Rahul Gandhi gave a speech in Kolar Karnataka for the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, in which he used the following sentences, which dragged him to court!

  1. Why do all thieves have the surname Modi?
  2. Be it Nirav Modi, Narendra Modi, or Lalit Modi

Does it even make sense? CJM HH Verma from Surat Court convicted Rahul Gandhi by charging him with the offence of Defamation under Section 500 of IPC. Section 500 IPC states that any person who defames another person should go through simple imprisonment of a term which may extend to two years or with a fine or both. The court approved the bail on a surety of Rs. 15,000 and allowed him to make an appeal within 30 days.

The Disqualification

A legislator may be disqualified under one of three circumstances. Firstly, a Parliament or the Legislative Assembly member may be disqualified under Articles 102(1) and 191(1), respectively. The grounds, in this case, include holding a position of profit, being incompetent or unsound mind, or lacking legal citizenship.

The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution contains the second disqualification provision, which allows for the expulsion of members for defection.

The Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951, governs the third prescription. According to this law, conviction in criminal cases will disqualify you.

What does the RPA say?

The RPA contains a number of provisions that address disqualification. The disqualification for termination for corruption or disloyalty and for engaging in government contracts while a lawmaker, is addressed in Section 9. Section 10 states the disqualification for failure to file an account of election costs is addressed. Section 11 of an important clause addresses disqualification for corrupt behaviour.

Disqualification due to conviction of offences is covered under Section 8 of the RPA. The clause aims to "avoid criminalisation of politics" and prevent "tainted" legislators from running for office.

First, a conviction for certain offences enumerated in the Representation of the People Act (Section 8(1)) results in disqualification. This covers certain offences including inciting animosity between groups, bribery, and improper election meddling or personation.Senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan lost his UP Assembly membership in October 2022 after he was convicted in a hate speech case. Defamation does not fall on this list.

In addition, Section 8(2) lists offences involving stockpiling or profiteering, adulteration of food or medications, and receiving a conviction and sentence of at least six months for a violation of any Dowry Prohibition Act provision.

Section 8(3) states, "A person shall be disqualified from holding any office from the date of such conviction and shall be disqualified for a further period of 6 years after his release."

Lily Thomas case

Section 8(4) of the R P Act, which allowed a convicted lawmaker to continue serving on the basis that appeals had been submitted within three months of conviction, was invalidated by the S.C. in the Lily Thomas case in 2013.

However, disqualification will become official after the Election Commission (EC) mandates new elections to fill the seat and the Lok Sabha Secretariat releases a notification stating that the seat is now vacant.


Mr. Gandhi is a representative of the Nehru-Gandhi political family, which has given three Indian prime ministers. His great-grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru, was India's first and longest-serving prime minister. His grandmother, Indira Gandhi, was the country's first female prime minister, while his father, Rajiv Gandhi, served as the country's youngest prime minister.

Their party, the Congress, essentially continually dominated the nation with the exception of a few years from India's independence in 1947 until 2014, when BJP's Narendra Modi came to power in a landslip. The Congress has now devolved into a shell of what it once was, and the BJP destroyed it once more in 2019.

The main opponent has only ever been imprisoned once in Indian history. For breaking parliamentary privileges, Indira Gandhi—who was no longer the prime minister at the time—was expelled from the lower house and detained for nine days in December 1978.

About the Author: Gurpreet Kaur Dutta | 82 Post(s)

A legal content writer who pursued BBA-LL.B.(H) from Amity University Chhattisgarh. She has a keen interest in corporate and IPR sectors. 

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