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Congress President Rahul Gandhi today agreed to apologize for attributing the ‘Chowkidar Chor Hain’ remark to the Supreme Court.
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi made the submission before the Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Singhvi also submitted that Rahul Gandhi will file another affidavit in the contempt case filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi.
Lekhi’s petition is based on Gandhi’s alleged statement that the Supreme Court has said “Chowkidar Chor hai” in relation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the preliminary objections raised by the Centre in the Rafale review case were rejected by the Supreme Court. In two affidavits filed earlier, Rahul Gandhi expressed regret only for attributing the slogan to the Supreme Court, while standing by his political slogan ‘Chowkidar Chor Hain’, in reference to Prime Minister Modi.
When the matter was taken up in Court, counsel appearing for Meenakshi Lekhi expressed their dissatisfaction with Gandhi’s responses to the Supreme Court’s notice in the contempt petition. Advocate Ruchi Kohli argued that the second counter affidavit filed by Gandhi is similar to that of the first affidavit. She also rebutted Gandhi’s argument that he had made the statements without reading the order of the Supreme Court.
At this point, the Bench asked Singhvi, appearing for Gandhi, why the second affidavit was filed.Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi then made submissions on behalf of Lekhi. He said,
“Rahul Gandhi has deliberately put words in the mouth of the Supreme Court for political gains. Two affidavits have been filed, second is identical to the first. There is only one word – regret in both the affidavits. This is the grossest form of contempt.”
Rohatgi insisted that Gandhi should issue an unconditional apology for his statement, as opposed to merely expressing regret.
“He says multiple statements were made by other leaders also, then why contempt against me? This is his justification. Regret and all is lip service.”
Rohatgi went on to urge the Court to reject his excuses.
Before Singhvi began his arguments, the Court told him,
“Let us be very clear, once you start, don’t say that you want to file a reply.”
“I don’t think there’s any deficiency in the affidavits, but if there is, I should be allowed to rectify”, Singhvi responded.
Singhvi then admitted that Gandhi made three errors, and that he wrongly attributed the statement to the Supreme Court. He further stated that the Congress President would apologize for the same.
The Court then allowed an additional affidavit to be filed, by Monday. While doing so, the Court made it clear that its order cannot be understood to be an acceptance or acknowledgement of the affidavits that have been filed already.
Read the Order: