SC adjourns hearing in defamation case against Rahul Gandhi till Aug 23

| Updated: Jul 27, 2016 21:07 IST

New Delhi, July 27 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned hearing into the defamation case filed against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) over his alleged remarks on the Mahatama Gandhi killing till August 23. Hearing the matter, Justice Dipak Mishra raised questions on the procedure followed by the magistrate in the defamation case. The apex court said the trial court had asked the police for a report following a defamation complaint against Gandhi instead of examining the evidence. The court said the police have no authority to conduct inquiry into a criminal defamation, adding that only a magistrate inquiry can be conducted in such cases. The apex court also said after its judgment in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy's case, where the criminal defamation was upheld, the police have no authority to conduct an investigation. Signalling major trouble for Gandhi, the apex court earlier on July 19 rapped the Congress vice-president, saying he must face a trial. Gandhi, who was charged with defamation over his statement, accusing the RSS of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, had earlier urged the apex court to quash the case against him. The Congress vice-president has maintained that his statement on RSS' involvement in the Mahatma Gandhi killing was a historical fact and his counsel has asserted that his statement was within his right to free speech. The case was by filed by RSS worker Rajesh Kunte against Gandhi in a Maharashtra court for allegedly blaming the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. On May 7 last year, the apex court had stayed the proceedings against the Congress vice-president, pending before a magisterial court in Bhiwandi of Maharashtra's Thane district. It was alleged by Kunte, the secretary of Bhiwandi unit of RSS, that the Congress vice president told an election rally at Sonale on March 6 that "RSS people killed Gandhiji". He said the Congress leader had sought to tarnish the reputation of the Sangh through his speech. Following the complaint, the magistrate's court had initiated proceedings and issued notice to Gandhi directing him to appear before it. The Congress leader then approached the high court seeking exemption from appearance and quashing of the complaint. Gandhi's lawyers had argued that complaint was motivated and malafide and deserved to be quashed. (ANI)