The Bombay High Court has extended the interim relief granted to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case against him over his “commander-in-thief” remark about PM Modi.

The Bombay High Court has extended the interim relief granted to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from appearing before a magistrate court in Mumbai until February 26 in a defamation case against him.

Gandhi had approached the Bombay High Court through his lawyer Kushal Mor, seeking the quashing of the proceedings against him for his “commander-in-thief” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018 while addressing a public rally in Rajasthan. Gandhi had tweeted the same on September 24, 2018.

BJP worker Mahesh Shrishrimal, a resident of Girgaon, had claimed that by calling the Prime Minister “commander-in-thief,” Gandhi had alleged theft against all members of BJP and Indian citizens. He had approached the Magistrate court with a defamation suit. The Magistrate court, after hearing him, had issued a process and summoned Gandhi.

The advocate for the complainant, Niteen Pradhan, was not present in court, and his junior sought some accommodation before the bench of Justice NJ Jamadar.

Upon hearing this, Advocate Sudeep Pasbola, appearing for Gandhi, requested the court to extend the relief that had been granted earlier, which the bench agreed to do.

In his plea before the Bombay High Court, Gandhi stated that since he is an elected representative, he is often exposed to frivolous and vexatious litigation motivated by the sole purpose of furthering political agendas. Gandhi’s plea further added that the plea in the magistrate’s court was filed only to harass him and tarnish his public image.

However, Shrishrimal, in his reply, said that he has made out a prima facie case against Gandhi, and only after the Magistrate was satisfied, the summons was issued. He stressed that Gandhi could have preferred a revision application against the Magistrate court order before the Sessions Court instead of directly approaching the high court with a quashing petition.

During an earlier hearing, the High Court had directed the Girgaum Magistrate court to defer its hearing of the case until the next date of the hearing in the high court, and in subsequent hearings, the relief has been extended, time to time.

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