BY- DEEPTI YADAV
Justice Revati Mohite Dere of the Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker Rajesh Kunte challenging an order of a Bhiwani Magistrate Court in Thane in pending criminal defamation proceedings against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, upholding the thane court order.
The Magistrate court had earlier dismissed an application filed by Kunte seeking admission or denial of the alleged defamatory speech made by Rahul Gandhi.
Kunte accused Rahul Gandhi of making a defamatory speech by stating that RSS was responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi had moved the High Court seeking quashing of the criminal complaint and in his petition, he had annexed a transcript of the speech which led to the defamation proceedings.
Though Rahul Gandhi’s petition was dismissed by the Bombay High Court, Kunte contended that by annexing a copy of his speech in the petition, Gandhi “unambiguously owned up the speech, even though in the petition he tried to justify the speech for various grounds”.
“Emphasis on the genuineness of the speech was essential to advert to the grounds of challenge mention in the plea,” Kunte argued before the court.
The Magistrate Court however rejected the application, which kunte challenged in the High Court through advocating Tapan Thatte.
Advocate Kushal Mor argued for Rahul Gandhi and opposed the petition by contending that the entire plea was filed with an intention to delay the trial.
Mor argued that the transcript was a document of the petitioner (Kunte) which he was required to prove during the Trail court proceedings.
“It was imperative at the stage of challenging the summoning order that the material before the Trial Court which formed the basis of summoning be placed before the High Court for appreciation”, Mor argued.
He further argued that seeking such direction violated Gandhi’s constitutional right under Article 20(3) and hence, the petition was liable to be dismissed.