Chowkidar chor hai’: Supreme Court issues contempt notice to Rahul Gandhi for remarks on Rafale verdict

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued contempt notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi on a plea against his “chowkidar chor hai” comment attributed to a recent apex court order.

The apex court rejected the plea of Gandhi to close the criminal contempt petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi. The court will hear on April 30 the criminal contempt petition along with the pending review petition against the December 14, 2018 verdict in the Rafale jet deal.

Senior lawyer appearing for BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi told the Supreme Court bench that, “Rahul says he made wrong statements, he did not read the order, It was not clear to him and he holds SC in highest esteem. There is no apology from him in the Affidavit. It only mentions the word regret.”

“On hearing senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi on behalf of Gandhi in the contempt petition we deem it fit to issue notice to the respondent (Rahul) Gandhi,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
“We also direct the registry to list the review petition along with the contempt petition next Tuesday,” the bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi had submitted his reply in an affidavit to the top court on Monday where he said he had expressed regret and clarified that he did not attribute his “chowkidaar chor hai” comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Supreme Court’s order on Rafale deal.

Senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted in the top court that, “for the last 18 months it (chowkidaar chor hai) is a political slogan and he (Rahul Gandhi) stands by it. If you want a political flog, then be it. 12 statements from the ruling party saying they got a clean chit from Supreme Court even I can file contempt against such remarks.”
He urged the top court to dismiss the plea, however, CJI Ranjan Gogoi has issued contempt notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The matter will now be heard on April 30.

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