SC reserves order on Rahul’s ‘chowkidar’ goof-up

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New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday told the Supreme Court to close the criminal proceedings against him, as he has already tendered apology for linking the top court to the political slogan “chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is the thief).

A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Friday reserved the order on the contempt petition filed against Gandhi by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi.

Senior advocate and Lekhi’s counsel Mukul Rohtagi argued that Gandhi should apologise to the public for wrongfully linking the top court to a political speech.

“Rahul Gandhi led the public astray by saying that Supreme Court said ‘chowkidar chor hai’. Hence, the court should pass an order asking Rahul Gandhi to apologise,” Rohtagi said.

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Appearing for Gandhi, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the Congress President had expressed regret even before the court had issued a notice.

“When the court did not accept that regret is equivalent to apology, he (Gandhi) filed an affidavit expressing apology. Therefore, the case should be closed,” argued Singhvi.

Rohtagi then replied that the apology tendered by Gandhi should not be accepted, and necessary action should be taken against him as per the law.

On Wednesday, Gandhi had filed a fresh affidavit in the court, tendering his “unconditional apology” for “unintentionally” attributing certain comments of his to the top court and pleaded for the closure of the contempt proceedings in the matter.

Gandhi was asked by the apex court to apologise for incorrectly saying that it had said “chowkidar chor hai”, an euphemism the Congress chief uses to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the context of the Rafale fighter jet deal.

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In a three-page affidavit, Gandhi said: “The deponent unconditionally apologises for the wrongful attribution to the court. The deponent further states that any such attributions were entirely unintentional, non-wilful and inadvertent.”

–IANS

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