New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the allegation of gang rape and illegal confinement of an Uttar Pradesh woman against him was an attempt to defame him and tarnish his image.
The apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar was told that "this is defamation of worst kind, calculated to pollute Indian democracy".
Appearing for Rahul Gandhi, senior counsel P.P. Rao told the court that the damage caused by the politically-motivated allegation and deliberate falsehood was "immense and immeasurable".
Petitioner Kishore Smrite Feb 26, 2011 moved the Allahabad High Court alleging gang rape and illegal detention of a woman by Gandhi and his friends during the Congress MP's tour of his Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh during 2006.
Rao told the court that Smrite was not only "ex-facie guilty of defamation, both civil and criminal, perjury and criminal but his plea" deserved to be dismissed with "exemplary cost".
"Where was Rahul Gandhi on the date of the incident" in Amethi, Justice Swatanter Kumar asked Rao as he urged the court that Smrite also deserved to be "proceeded against for perjury as well as criminal contempt and awarded extreme penalty".
The senior counsel said that such a course was necessary to send "message to other unscrupulous politically-motivated persons all over the country not to abuse judicial process for political advantage".
The court was hearing a petition by Smrite challenging the March 7, 2011 order of the high court by which his petition was dismissed, a CBI probe was ordered against him and a cost of Rs.50 lakh was imposed on him.
Smrite contended that the high court's division bench could not have called the matter pending before another judge and passed an order without issuing notice to him.
The division bench's order came on a petition by Amethi resident Gajinder Pal Singh.
Rao questioned why Smrite did not approach police over his allegations.
"Why did you not go to police station? You went all over the world, including governor's office, but did not go to police station because they would have called the bluff," Rao said.
"There was no urgency. It was an incident of 2006 which was put on a website. The urgency was shown by the lawyers and the parties," Justice Chauhan observed.
Rao referred to allegation by Smrite that the high court had shown "undue interest and haste" in dealing with the petition by Gajendera Pal Singh.
As Smrite's counsel Kamini Jaiswal sought to recall certain observations by the high court judge against her client, the apex court told her to confine herself to the pleading made in the petition.
The court would next hear the case Oct 1.