The Supreme Court on Tuesday exempted Congress president Rahul Gandhi from personal appearance in the criminal contempt case in which notice was issued to him for his “chowkidar chor hai” remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi while referring to the Rafale judgment, which the apex court said was “incorrectly attributed” to it.
“Personal presence of the alleged contemnor is dispensed with, for the present,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said in the order.
The top court said it will hear on April 30 the criminal contempt petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi against Gandhi along with the pending review petition against the December 14, 2018 verdict in the Rafale fighter jet deal.
It rejected Gandhi’s plea to close the criminal contempt petition filed by Lekhi.
After the order was pronounced, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Lekhi, had told reporters that issuance of notice by the Supreme Court to Gandhi would make him personally appear to give an explanation about his statement.
Hours after the hearing, the order of the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, was uploaded on the apex court website which made it clear that Gandhi’s personal presence on April 30 has been dispensed with.