SC asks Rahul Gandhi to apologue or face trial for 'RSS killed Gandhi' remark

The Supreme Court has asked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to apologise over his comments holding the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) responsible for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination or face trial.

The apex court refused to stay a Bombay High Court order dismissing his plea for quashing a defamation case against him for allegedly blaming RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Rahul had made the 'RSS killed Gandhi' remark at a rally in Thane in 2014.

"Why did you make a sweeping statement against the RSS branding everyone associated with the organization in the same brush," the Supreme Court asked Rahul Gandhi while hearing a defamation case filed against him.

" You can't make wholesale denunciation of an organisation," the SC bench observed.

The Supreme Court has given time till 27 July for Rahul Gandhi to detail his arguments in the case and posted the matter for hearing on 27 July.

Rahul Gandhi had moved the Supreme Court in May 2016 to quash a defamation case against him.

"We will examine whether what the petitioner (Rahul) said comes within the ambit of defamation," the court reportedly said.

RSS activist Rajesh Kunte, who also is the secretary of Bhiwandi unit of the RSS, had, in 2015, made a case against Rahul who told an election rally at Sonale on 6 March that "RSS people killed Gandhiji".

"RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him...They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji," Rahul had said.

Kunte told the court that the Congress leader had sought to tarnish the reputation of the Sangh through his speech. Following the complaint, the magistrate's court had initiated proceedings and issued notice to Rahul directing him to appear before it.

The Congress leader then approached the High Court seeking exemption from appearance and quashing of the complaint. Rahul's lawyers had argued that complaint was motivated and malafide and deserved to be quashed.

They argued that no case was made out against Rahul and the criminal proceedings initiated against him were part of BJP's election campaign.

The prosecution had opposed the petition and argued that Rahul can plead his case and lead evidence during trial before the magistrate.

The high court dismissed the petition and refused to grant stay on its order to allow the Congress leader time to appeal against it in the Supreme Court.