Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party and a former MP from Wayanad, Kerala, has been disqualified from the Lok Sabha after his conviction in a criminal defamation case over his remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname. He was sentenced to two years in jail by a court in Surat, Gujarat, on March 23, 2023. He is currently on bail and has appealed the verdict.
With this disqualification, Rahul Gandhi has joined a list of prominent leaders who have faced similar action in the past under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which bars a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years from being a member of parliament or a state legislature. The disqualification lasts for six years after the release of the person.
Some of the other leaders who have been disqualified under this law are:
Indira Gandhi: The former Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother was disqualified from the Lok Sabha in 1975 after she was found guilty of electoral malpractices by the Allahabad High Court. She imposed Emergency soon after and got the verdict overturned by Parliament.
Lalu Prasad Yadav: The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and former Bihar Chief Minister was disqualified from the Lok Sabha in 2013 after he was convicted in the fodder scam case. He was sentenced to five years in jail by a special CBI court.
Azam Khan: The Samajwadi Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh Minister was disqualified from the state assembly in 2022 after he was convicted in a hate speech case. He was sentenced to three years in jail by a court in Rampur.
J Jayalalithaa: The late AIADMK supremo and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was disqualified from the state assembly in 2014 after she was convicted in a disproportionate assets case. She was sentenced to four years in jail by a special court in Bangalore.