The Supreme Court on Friday provided relief to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul, giving them exemption from personal appearance in the trial court in the National Herald case and expunging certain observations of the High Court but refused to interfere with criminal proceedings before the lower court.
Allowing their plea for exemption from personal appearance before the trial court, which is scheduled to take up the matter on February 20, the apex court added a rider that it would be open to the magistrate at any stage to seek their personal appearance as and when required.
Though BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is the complainant in the case, contested the plea for exemption from appearance, a bench comprising justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan said that "in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case and the position occupied by the petitioners, we are of the view that the presence of the petitioners before the trial court would cause more inconvenience than convenience."
"Petitioners shall be exempted from personal appearance and it is needless to say that it will be open for the trial court to seek their presence at any stage if and when their presence is required," the court said.
The bench, which passed the order after hearing senior advocates Kapil Sibal, A M Singhvi and R S Cheema, who were appearing for Gandhis and others, and Swamy, said, "So far as determination by the Delhi high court in rejecting the prayer for quashing the proceedings against the petitioner, we do not find justification for interfering with it."
(Feature Image Source: PTI)