Germany today said that "fundamental democratic principles" should apply in the case of Rahul Gandhi, who has been disqualified from the Lok Sabha after his conviction in a defamation case.
"We have taken note of the verdict of first instance against the Indian opposition politician Rahul Gandhi as well as the suspension of his parliamentary mandate. To our knowledge, Mr Gandhi is in a position to appeal the verdict," Germany's foreign ministry spokesperson said during a press briefing
"It will then become clear whether this verdict will stand and whether the suspension of his mandate has any basis," she added.
The spokesperson said that Germany expects that "standards of judicial independence and fundamental democratic principles" will apply in the the case.
Responding to Germany's remarks, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that India will not tolerate foreign interference in internal matters.
"Remember, Indian Judiciary can't be influenced by foreign interference. India won't tolerate 'foreign influence' anymore because our Prime Minister is:- Shri Narendra Modi Ji (sic)," Mr Rijiju said in a tweet.
Thank you Rahul Gandhi for inviting foreign powers for interference into India's internal matters. Remember, Indian Judiciary can't be influenced by foreign interference. India won't tolerate 'foreign influence' anymore because our Prime Minister is:- Shri @narendramodi Ji 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/xHzGRzOYTz— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) March 30, 2023
Earlier this week, the US said that it is watching the Rahul Gandhi case and they continue to engage with the Indian government on a shared commitment to democratic values, including freedom of expression.
"Respect for the rule of law and judicial independence is a cornerstone of any democracy, and we're watching Mr Gandhi's (Rahul Gandhi) case in Indian courts," US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified last week as a Member of Lok Sabha (MP) from the date of his conviction in the criminal defamation case over his 'Modi surname' remark. Rahul Gandhi was an MP from the seat of Wayanad in Kerala.
Mr Gandhi was given a two years imprisonment in a defamation case over his 'Modi surname' remark made in 2019 during an election rally in Karnataka.
Rahul Gandhi made the "how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname" remark in April 2019, at a Lok Sabha election rally at Kolar in Karnataka. The criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi was filed by BJP MLA from Surat West Purnesh Modi.