Rahul Gandhi let off on PM chowkidar chor jibe

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“We do believe that persons holding such important positions in the political spectrum must be more careful” the court said.

Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday let off Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a contempt plea for wrongly attributing to the top court his election campaign rhetorical “chowkidar chor hai” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the Rafale case.

Referring to his second affidavit, CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led three judge bench said, “Better sense having prevailed, we would not like to continue these proceedings further and, thus, close the contempt proceedings with a word of caution for the contemnor to be more careful in future.”

“We do believe that persons holding such important positions in the political spectrum must be more careful. As to what should be his campaign line is for a political person to consider,” the court said.

“However, this court or for that matter no court should be dragged into this political discourse, valid or invalid, while attributing aspects to the Court which had never been held by the court. Certainly Mr Gandhi needs to be more careful in future.” Before letting off Mr Gandhi for attributing his “chowkidar chor hai” directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Supreme Court, Justice Kaul, speaking for the bench, said, “We must note that it is unfortunate that without verification or even perusing as to what is the order passed, the contemnor deemed it appropriate to make statements as if this Court had given an imprimatur to his allegations against the Prime Minister, which was far from the truth.”

“This was not one sentence or a one off observation but a repeated statement in different manners conveying the same. No doubt the contemnor should have been far more careful,” the court noted.

Referring to the first affidavit by Mr Gandhi where he was apparently not candid in offering apology to the court, the court said that the matter was “compounded” filing a 20 page affidavit with a large number of documents annexed “rather than simply accepting the mistake.”