Rahul Gandhi automatically disqualified as MP after two-year jail sentence: Kapil Sibal
New Delhi/IBNS: Former Union law minister and lawyer Kapil Sibal Thursday said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi stands automatically disqualified as an MP after he was sentenced to a two-year jail sentence.
Sibal called the sentence "bizarre".
Gandhi received a two-year jail sentence from a court in Gujarat over his remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress MP has got bail and has been given 30 days' time to file an appeal against the verdict.
"If it (the court) only suspends the sentence that's not enough. There has to be a suspension or stay of conviction. He (Rahul Gandhi) can stay on as a member of parliament only if there is a stay on the conviction," Sibal told NDTV.
The law states that if one is convicted of any offence for two years then the seat will be vacant, he explained.
"The law requires it and naturally the Speaker will move in accordance with the law," he added.
The Congress has called a conferral of opposition leaders at 10 am on Friday.
Rahul Gandhi, 52, was found guilty of defamation for a 2019 campaign trail remark implying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a criminal.
However, he was granted bail and his sentence was suspended for 30 days to let him appeal the decision.
"This is not just a legal issue, it is also a very serious political issue, which is related to the future of our democracy. This is a great example of the Modi government's politics of vengeance, politics of threats, politics of intimidation and politics of harassment," senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told reporters after the party met this evening to discuss its strategy.
The Surat court's verdict is the latest legal action against opposition party figures and institutions which have been critical of the Modi government.
Ramesh said the meeting at Congress chief M Kharge's residence lasted around two hours and it was decided that the Party chief would hold a meeting with all Pradesh Congress chiefs and Congress Legislature Party leaders in the evening and plan agitations in states.
Around 11:30 or noon tomorrow, all opposition parties will march from Parliament to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, said the Congress.
The party said it has sought time from President Droupadi Murmu to present its case.
The Supreme Court in a 2013 verdict had said that any MP or MLA stands disqualified from the time of his conviction if a sentence of two or more years is pronounced.
The case against Rahul Gandhi goes back to a remark made during the 2019 election campaign in which the 52-year-old had asked why "all thieves have Modi as (their) common surname".