Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took a sharp U-turn on Wednesday as he told the Supreme Court that he did not ever blame the RSS for the killing Mahatma Gandhi but had only said that a “few persons in the organization” were guilty for it.
The big scramble down comes a month after apex court judges Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Nariman had categorically told Rahul’s lawyer(Sibal) that a “collective denunciation” without any proof primafacie amounted to defamation and if he cannot establish that he had made such a statement “for public good”, he will have to either express regret.
Sibal further said that killer Nathuram Godse’s brother, Gopal Godse, had himself claimed that the killing happened.
The RSS, the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) filed a defamation case against Gandhi for his speech at a rally in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra in 2014. Rahul had alleged that RSS members had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948.
“We have clearly said that we did not talk about a particular institution and that Mahatma Gandhi was killed by one ideology and this topic is not of today. Whatever Rahul Gandhi said is still available in written form. Rahul Gandhi has said that whatever is present in his speech should been seen as a context. Things which are true are true and we stick to it,” Sibal said.
Rahul had approached the SC seeking quashing of a defamation case filed by RSS activist Rajesh Kunte, who alleged that the Congress leader had said at an election rally at Sonale in Thane district on March 6, 2014 that “RSS people had killed Mahatma Gandhi.”
The court was hearing Rahul’s plea challenging the March 10, order of the Bombay High Court which dismissed his plea.
Following Kunte’s complaint, the magistrate in Bhiwandi had initiated proceedings and issued notice to Rahul directing him to appear before it.
Rahul had earlier refused to apologise for his remarks and was ready to face trial in the case.
On July 19, the apex court asked Rahul to tender apology or face trial for his remarks.
While addressing a public rally at Sonale in Bhiwandi on March 6, 2014 Rahul had alleged it was “RSS people,” who had killed Mahatma Gandhi. “RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him…They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji,” he had said.
The case reopened on May 14, when the SC, holding that “it is always better to mind your language as right to free speech does not mean defaming another” dismissed the plea filed by Rahul, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to decriminalise criminal defamation law.