Signalling major trouble for Rahul Gandhi, the Supreme Court on Tuesday rapped the Congress vice-president in connection with the defamation case filed against him for his remark on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and said that he must face trial.
Gandhi, who was charged with defamation over his statement blaming the RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, had earlier urged the apex court to quash the case against him.
During the hearing, the apex court observed that the Congress vice-president must face trial and that the case must be decided on merits even though what he said was for public good or not.
"You can't make wholesale denunciation of an organisation. Purpose of law is not to turn citizens into litigants. History is the biggest enemy of privacy," the court observed.
The Supreme Court has given time till next Wednesday for Gandhi to detail his arguments.
The Congress vice-president has maintained that his statement on RSS involvement in Mahatma Gandhi's killing was a historical fact and his counsel has asserted that his statement was within his right to free speech.
The case was filed by RSS worker Rajesh Kunte against Gandhi in a Maharashtra court for allegedly blaming the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
The apex court had on May 7 last year stayed the proceedings against the Congress vice-president, pending before a magisterial court in Bhiwandi of Maharashtra's Thane district.
It was alleged by Kunte, the secretary of Bhiwandi unit of RSS, that the Congress vice-president told an election rally at Sonale on March 6 that "RSS people killed Gandhiji".
He said 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 Gandhi directing him to appear before it.
The Congress leader then approached the High Court seeking exemption from appearance and quashing of the complaint.
Gandhi's lawyers had argued that complaint was motivated and malafide and deserved to be quashed.