The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a contempt notice against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his "Chowkidar Chor Hai" remark, a day after he expressed his regret over the issue. Apparently not happy with the Congress chief's response, the apex court sent him the notice and said the matter would be heard on April 30. Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi, said the Congress President had accepted that he made a wrong statement without even going through the SC order on the Rafale deal.
Calling Rahul Gandhi's reply to the Supreme Court's notice mere "lip service", Rohatgi said the Congress President had not apologised for his remarks and that he only expressed "regret" in his affidavit filed in the Supreme Court. He added that's not how the apex court should be misquoted, especially by the head of a political party. Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said he's yet to read Rahul's reply, adding that the matter would be heard along with the Rafale review petition case on April 30.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in response to a defamation suit filed against him, expressed regret for attributing the "Chowkidar Chor Hai" remarks to the Supreme Court. Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Modi, Rahul Gandhi had said the SC had confirmed "Chowkidar Hi Chor Hai" after the apex court passed an order to examine fresh pleas in the Rafale case on April 10. Filing his response on BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi's defamation suit in the court, Rahul on Monday said: "The statement was made in the heat of political campaigning."
Holding a press conference after the SC hearing on Tuesday, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the issue had been politicised by the BJP, and that it should be over now. "Besides, we have not said anything in the court. The BJP is trying to politicise the issue even in the court. Now the court has postponed the hearing while also seeking more explanation. We will look into it."
The BJP had sought criminal contempt against the Congress president. After Rahul's reply on Monday, BJP MP Lekhi said it's an admission of guilt and thus contempt of court. "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 & pray that it is responded with the strictest rebuke by the court," she tweeted.
Edited by Manoj Sharma