Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has on Friday - August 4 got a remarkable relief to re-enter the Lok Sabha as an MP as his conviction in a criminal defamation case has been stayed by the Supreme Court. Rahul Gandhi was representing the Wayanad constituency in Kerala in the Lok Sabha and his membership was revoked by the Lok Sabha Secretariat following a conviction awarded to him by a Gujarat court earlier this March. He was also facing a risk of being barred to contest in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls as per the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951.
On Friday, a three-judge bench of the apex court had stayed the conviction and the verdict had sparked celebrations from the Congress cadres across the country as they welcomed the verdict that would bring back Rahul Gandhi to Lok Sabha at a high time when the opposition parties need his presence to take on the Modi regime. As Rahul Gandhi is all set to begin a new innings in the Parliament, let's delve into why his re-entry as an MP won't happen immediately.
With a favourable verdict from the country's top court, it is obvious that Rahul Gandhi is free from the conviction and that he has to get reinstated as a Lok Sabha MP. 'When he will be back to the house?' remains a crucial question and the Lok Sabha Secretariat keeps the key to unlock the answer. The previous precedents display that Rahul Gandhi's efforts to restore his membership won't be a cakewalk.
As per the constitutional experts, Rahul Gandhi will have to make a submission to the Lok Sabha Secretariat stating that the Supreme Court has stayed his conviction and that he should be reinstated as the Member of Parliament. The experts recall the case of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faisal. Faisal belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party and in January 2023, he was suspended from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a criminal case.
Faisal was awarded a ten-year incarceration in an attempt-to-murder case. The verdict was delivered by a sessions court in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep. He had then approached the Kerala High Court, which had stayed his conviction in the case. However, though the conviction was stayed, Faisal wasn't immediately reinstated as a Lok Sabha MP. He had to wait for two months and stage a legal battle against the delay in restoring his membership.
After two months, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had notified the restoration of Faisal's membership in Lok Sabha on March 29. The notification from the Secretariat came hours before Faisal's petition was scheduled to be heard over the delay. In Faisal's case, it took two months for him to re-enter the Lok Sabha and now, Faisal's case is a standing example why Rahul Gandhi's membership in Lok Sabha will less likely to restored immediately.
Given the timing of the Supreme Court's verdict of staying Rahul Gandhi's conviction, the Congress party needs him in the lower house when it is preparing for the impending no-confidence motion against the Modi regime. The Congress party had moved a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Modi over his silence on the Manipur violence. Though the BJP government can't be defeated owing to its majority in the Lok Sabha, the opposition parties have come together to corner the Modi regime in the wake of its prolong silence on the Manipur violence.
At a high time when the opposition parties are preparing to debate on the motion amidst a parliamentary logjam urging the presence of the Prime Minister, it is expected that Rahul Gandhi's comeback to the Lok Sabha will boost the opposition's INDIA coalition. Along with his submission to the Lok Sabha Secretariat asking it to restore his membership, Rahul Gandhi will also have to submit a copy of the Supreme Court's order to the Secretariat.
If the Secretariat restores his membership on Saturday, Rahul Gandhi will come to the Parliament on Monday and will take part in the proceedings. The Congress leadership is wasting no time to get its star leader back to the Lok Sabha as soon after the Supreme Court had delivered its verdict of staying Rahul Gandhi's conviction, the Congress leadership met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to initiate the process for restoration of Rahul Gandhi's membership.
Congress party's Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had met Om Birla and urged him to restore Rahul Gandhi's membership. Chowdhury said, "The Supreme Court relief to Rahul Gandhi is a victory of truth. We hope truth shall prevail." The two-day debate on the no-confidence motion against the Modi regime is scheduled to begin on Tuesday - August 8 in the Lok Sabha followed by Prime Minister Modi's reply on Thursday.
It is pertinent to note that earlier this March, a Gujarat court convicted Rahul Gandhi with two-year imprisonment in a criminal defamation case that was lodged against him in connection to his 'Modi surname' remark that he made in 2019. Following the conviction, his Lok Sabha membership was scrapped and after four months of legal battle, his conviction is now been stayed and he awaits to make a comeback in Lok Sabha and he also can contest in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.