With the Supreme Court taking strong exception to the contents of his affidavit and warning him that he either admit his mistake or face contempt action, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday agreed to tender a written apology for attributing his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark to the court.
Hearing a plea by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi seeking criminal contempt proceedings against Gandhi for his remark, the bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph objected to the fact that Gandhi had expressed “regret” within brackets in his affidavit.
When senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Gandhi, said he had expressed “complete regret”, CJI Gogoi told him: “Where have you expressed complete regret?… What is the meaning of expressing regret in brackets? Where is the apology in your affidavit?”.
“We have difficulty in understanding what you are trying to say,” the CJI said. Justice Kaul said “any person can make a mistake, but having made it, you should go ahead and admit it… are you not contradicting yourself” in the affidavit.
The bench allowed Singhvi’s request to file a fresh affidavit expressing apology for the attribution but said it will decide whether to admit the affidavit.
“While we observe that it will be open for the respondent to file the additional affidavit if he so desires, we make it clear that the admissibility and acceptance of any affidavit, if filed, will be considered on the next date fixed i.e. 10.05.2019,” the bench said.
Earlier, referring to Lekhi’s plea which said Gandhi had attributed his own statement about ‘chowkidar chor hai’ to the Supreme Court’s April 10 ruling, the CJI asked Singhvi: “Where have we said all these? How then can you attribute it to us?”.
After the SC rejected the Centre’s objections to the admissibility of certain documents submitted by the review petitioners in the Rafale deal matter, Gandhi had said: “Supreme Court ne clear kar diya hai ki chowkidarji ne chori karwai (Supreme Court has made it clear that chowkidarji got the theft done)”.
On April 22, in an affidavit, Gandhi said his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ slogan “got intermingled with my comments on and references” to the Supreme Court order and “my statement was made in the heat of political campaigning”.
On Tuesday, when Singhvi said that the statement was part of his political stand, the bench told him “we do not want to know what your political stand is. You can keep that to yourself”.