Contempt Notice Issued To Rahul Gandhi For Attributing "Chowkidar Chor Hai" Remark To Supreme Court
In the latest turn of events, the Supreme Court issued a criminal contempt notice to Rahul Gandhi today, for the incorrect attribution of his “Chowkidar Chor Hai” remark to the Supreme Court. The apex court said it would hear the criminal contempt petition filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi on April 30th. The Supreme Court is also set to hear the review petition against the December 14, 2018 verdict in the Rafale Jet Deal.
On Monday, April 22, Congress President Rahul Gandhi cleared the air surrounding his much-politicised comment “Chowkidar Chor Hai” being referred to SC.
The affidavit filed by Rahul Gandhi in the Supreme Court in response to BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi’s suit for criminal contempt against him for wrongfully attributing “Chowkidar Chor Hai” comment to the apex court. He clarified that the comment “Chowkidar Chor Hai” was made in the ‘heat of the moment’. The text of the affidavit says, “The said statements were made by the answering Respondent in Hindi in a rhetorical flourish in the heat of the moment”.
He didn’t apologize for the comment as reported by many media houses and journalists but merely regretted the association of his comment to the Apex Court.
By Monday afternoon media sources published articles which stated Rahul Gandhi apologized for his politicised “Chowkidar Chor Hai” remark. However, there was no apology for making the comment and the affidavit was misconstrued. The hashtag “#CongAdmitsJhoot was trending on Twitter with many other handles weighing in their opinion about the same.
#CongAdmitsJhoot | Big embarrassment for the Congress as their President Rahul Gandhi has admitted that he lied on the 'Chowkidar Chor Hain' comment vis-a-vis the Prime Minister. What impact do you think this will have politically? pic.twitter.com/bc5N8Ql27x
— Republic (@republic) April 22, 2019
Rahul Gandhi expresses regret to top court on remarks on its Rafale Order, he said 'gave the statements in the heat of the political campaigning.'#AbkiBaarKiskiSarkar
Zee News English ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 21, 2019
But a few were quick to spot the erroneous reporting.
The affidavit is quite clear, journalists must read and then tweet. @RahulGandhi has expressed regret for pinning the Chowkidar Chor Hai slogan in reference to the Supreme Court, and not for the slogan itself against the PM. Why the confusion
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) April 22, 2019
When the Supreme Court announced its decision to allow leaked Rafale documents to review a previous judgment, Rahul Gandhi, claiming a moral victory, said that the court made it quite clear that Narendra Modi had “committed theft”. “The Supreme Court has made it clear that Chowkidarji (watchman) has committed a theft,” Rahul Gandhi had told reporters during his rally in Amethi.
Later, a clarification was issued by the Supreme Court bench claiming that no remarks were made by it regarding the Prime Minister’s role in the Rafale deal.
Pleading that the court’s April 10 order which, allowing “leaked” Defence ministry documents to be taken on record, was deliberately misinterpreted by Rahul Gandhi, a criminal contempt petition was filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi in the Supreme Court against the Congress president. “He is representing his personal statements as a Supreme court order and is trying to create a prejudicial image in the minds of the public,” Meenakshi Lekhi had said. Rahul Gandhi was then asked by the bench to give “an explanation” for his statement by April 22.
Yesterday, he filed the affidavit. It explains that the statement of the Congress president got ‘juxtaposed and intermingled with the political slogan’ which later became a matter of “intense and frenzied public debate during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections”
“It is unfortunate that this slogan got intermingled with my comments on and references to the Apex Court’s order dated 15.04.2019”, it read.
The Congress party president also said that his political rivals had capitalized on his statement and expressed his regret only for the ‘unfortunate reference’:
“It has been used (and misused) by my political opponents to project that I had deliberately and intentionally suggested that this Court had said Chowkidar Chor Hai! Nothing could be farther from my mind. It is also clear that no court would ever do that and hence the unfortunate references (for which I express regret) to the court order and to the political slogan in juxtaposition the same breath in the heat of political campaigning ought not to be construed as suggesting that the court had given any finding or conclusion on that issue”