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Congress President Rahul Gandhi has filed an affidavit tendering his unconditional apology for attributing the ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ remark to the Supreme Court.
In the affidavit filed today through advocate Sunil Fernandes, Rahul Gandhi has submitted,
“The Deponent unconditionally apologises for the wrongful attributions to this Hon’ble Court. The Deponent further states that any such attributions were entirely unintentional, non-willful and inadvertent.“
He has stated that he holds the Supreme Court in the highest esteem and respect, and that he “ has never sought or intended to, directly or indirectly, commit any act that interferes with the process of administration of justice.“
The affidavit was filed in the contempt case initiated by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi objecting to his “Chowkidar Chor Hai” statement, in reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Lekhi had filed the plea objecting to this statement apparently made by Gandhi: “Sarvoch Nyayalay ne kaha hai, Chowkidar chor hai” (The Supreme Court has said that the ‘Chowkidar’ is a thief). The statement was allegedly made in response to the Supreme Court’s judgment concerning the maintainability of the Rafale review case.
In view of the unconditional apology tendered in the additional affidavit, Gandhi has prayed that the Court close the contempt proceedings.
After the matter came up before a Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Guptaand Sanjiv Khanna on April 15, the Court had asked Gandhi to explain his statement, while observing,
“The Court had no such occasion to make any such observation.”
In response, Gandhi first filed an affidavit submitting that his brief statement, which was made amidst hectic political campaigning, was not intended to insinuate anything that has not been said by the Court. He submitted that the statement was made in rhetorical flourish in the heat of the moment while responding to an unscheduled crowd of journalists.
When the Court issued notice in the matter on April 23, Gandhi stood by his statement in so far as it relates to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, appearing for Gandhi, Senior Advocate AM Singhvi expressed regret for attributing the slogan to Supreme Court. It was submitted in open Court,
“I stand by my political slogan ‘Chowkidar chor hai’. I regret for attributing it to Supreme Court.”
On April 30, the Court permitted Gandhi to file an additional affidavit in the case on a request made by Singhvi. However, it had been made clear that the order permitting the same could not be understood to be an acceptance or acknowledgement of the affidavits that have been filed already.