New Delhi, Aug 7: The central government on Monday sought to play down the restoration of Rahul Gandhi's Lok Sabha membership, with Parliamentary affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi saying that the decision was taken as per due legal procedure.
"Speaker made the decision today. We followed the legal process and immediately after receiving the Supreme Court's order, we restored it," Joshi told mediapersons outside the Parliament.
Responding to questions on Gandhi's Lok Sabha membership being restored, the minister denied any delay.
Joshi said that the Supreme Court order staying the Congress leader's conviction in a defamation case had come on August 4, which was a Friday, a weekend. However, Monday being a working day, the decision was immediately taken by the Speaker's office.
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Congress had been keen to get Gandhi's Lok Sabha membership restored, as the party wants him to participate in the discussion on the no-confidence motion, which is set to begin from Tuesday (August 8).
Earlier in the day, the Lok Sabha membership of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was restored by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, three days after the Supreme Court had stayed his conviction in a defamation case.
In an order issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat Monday, it was informed that in view of the Supreme Court order dated August 4, Gandhi's disqualification, which was ordered on March 24 this year, stands withdrawn.
The Supreme Court on August 4 had stayed Gandhi's conviction in a defamation case against him.
A Surat court had earlier found him guilty and handed him the maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment -- leading to his disqualification from the Lok Sabha.
The Gujarat High Court had refused to stay the conviction, after which Gandhi had appealed in the Supreme Court.