Watch your tongue

With the Supreme Court deciding to issue contempt notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi even after he expressed regret for his Rafale order comment, it has become clear that politicians can no more escape after talking something false or sensational just for the sake of garnering the attention of the people.

The apex court Tuesday slapped notice on Rahul with respect to the contempt petition filed against him by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Meenakshi Lekhi. The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also ordered the contempt petition to be tagged with the Rafale deal case, which will be heard 30 April.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Meenakshi, submitted that Rahul had not offered any apology for attributing the ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ remark to the court. Rohatgi said expressing regret was not an apology in the eyes of the law and ‘contrition has to be expressed at first instance and unequivocally’.

In reply, senior lawyer A M Singhvi said Rahul had expressed regret for wrongfully mixing up chowkidar remarks along with his comments on SC verdict in Rafale review petitions. He said it was a political slogan and attributed to the court ‘in the heat of the political campaign’.

Rahul had made the statement after the Supreme Court decided 10 April to reject the preliminary objections of the Centre against admitting ‘stolen’ documents produced by review petitioners and to hear Rafale review purely on merits.

Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul had said the SC had confirmed ‘Chowkidar Hi Chor Hai’. However, filing his response on Meenakshi’s defamation suit in the court, Rahul on Monday said: “The statement was made in the heat of political campaigning.” These kinds of remarks and regrets are not expected from someone who is aspiring for the country’s top post. Also, not just Rahul, each and every politician should watch his/her words.

NT Bureau