Cops cannot probe private defamation case against Rahul Gandhi: Supreme Court

The Congress Vice- President is facing a defamation case for his remarks allegedly accusing RSS for assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: July 27, 2016 5:53 pm
rahul gandhi, rss, rahul gandhi defamation case, defamation case, congress vice president, supreme court, supreme court decision, congress, news, latest news, india news Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi arrives at Parliament house during the monsoon session in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Magistrates cannot ask the police to investigate a private criminal defamation complaint as it is the complainant who needs to prove the case, the Supreme Court today said while prima facie finding fault with a lower court order asking Maharashtra cops to probe the defamation case against Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

Gandhi, facing a defamation complaint for his remarks allegedly accusing RSS for assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, has sought its quashing from the apex court which had observed that the leader should not have resorted to “collective denunciation” of an organisation (RSS) and will have to face trial if he does not express regret.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R F Nariman, at the outset, referred to an earlier judgement delivered on a batch of pleas, including the one filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and Gandhi each, challenging the constitutional validity of penal defamation law and said that police cannot be asked by judicial magistrates to probe a private defamation complaint.

It also prima facie found fault with the order of the Maharashtra lower court asking the police to inquire into the allegations against Gandhi and said that instead of “quashing” the case, it may “remand” the matter back to the lower court.

“We have said in the Subramanium Swamy case that the police has no role in private criminal complaints…whatever has to be established, it has to be established by the man (complainant) himself. The magistrates cannot call for a report from the police,” the bench said.

It asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress leader, to read relevant portions of the judgemnent, penned by Justice Misra, in the Subramanian Swamy case, dealing with the power of police and magistrates in criminal defamation cases.

“Police has no role in criminal defamation. It cannot lodge an FIR and a Magistrate cannot seek a inquiry report from police under sections 156 (3) and 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Magistrate has to himself make inquiry into the allegations…this is altogether a different process,” it said.

The bench then deferred the hearing to August 23 and asked the counsel for both sides including senior advocate U R Lalit to address it on legal proposition with regard to power of magistrates and police in such cases.

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  1. Manjit Singh
    Jul 27, 2016 at 12:58 pm
    Politicians should get famous by doing good work and not expect the people to think they are famous because of holding high office..
    1. D
      Damodardas subodhdas
      Jul 28, 2016 at 4:05 am
      Most magistrates in India abdicate their duty in a similar way in similar complaints and in the mulude of alleged obscenity and offending religious sentiments, offending a section of people sentiments etc. Stupid frivolous cases against the celebrities and famous people!lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Hundreds of cases have been filed by lunatic and self styled pompous elements, a large part of them being practicing or enrolled ' Advocate's! lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The government and courts have been shy of pulling up such lunatics! It is time India learns some civilisation from USA and uk and France etc about freedom of speech and expression and personal liberty , all of which are inviolable human rights about which no state can make laws!lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Satymeva jayathe!lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Long live Liberty, Equality and Fraternity!
      1. D
        Jul 27, 2016 at 2:00 pm
        country is doomed when judiciary becomes manitive and have no will to deliver justice or time for citizens - IF Rahul was ordinary citizen without influence of Diggi and Kapil he would have been put in for 25 years and no bail
        1. S
          Sankaran Krishnan
          Jul 27, 2016 at 1:47 pm
          If different court gives different ruling on the same subject then what type of Justice Delivery System we have in place. Is it not the duty of the Supreme Court to give guidelines to the lower courts and for any clarification an hot line between the Judges with prior time fixed for consultation to avoid unwanted delays and filing of cases at different levels and waste the time of the court unnecessarily is the ????.
          1. J
            john michael
            Jul 27, 2016 at 12:32 pm
            the valuable time of courts are being wasted by lunatics like subramaniam swamy , This has become a practice of late.
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