Congress President Rahul Gandhi has told the Supreme Court that he has tendered an unconditional apology for "wrongly attributing" to it the "chowkidar chor hai" remarks and the criminal contempt proceedings against him should be closed.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reserved the verdict on the criminal contempt plea filed against him by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Meenakshi Lekhi.
Senior advocate AM Singhvi was representing Rahul Gandhi in front of the bench, also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Meenakshi Lekhi, told the bench that the apology tendered by Mr Gandhi should be rejected and action must be taken against him as per the law.
Mr Rohatgi also asked that the court should tell Mr Gandhi to make an apology to the public for his remarks.
Mr Gandhi on May 8 tendered an unconditional apology in the court for wrongfully attributing to it his "chowkidar chor hai" remark in the Rafale verdict and said that he holds the top court in the "highest esteem and respect" and any attributions to it were "entirely unintentional, non-wilful and inadvertent".
The three-page affidavit was filed by the Congress president after he had drawn flak from the top court on April 30 over his earlier affidavit in which he had not directly admitted his mistake for incorrectly attributing the allegedly contemptuous remark to the top court.
Rahul Gandhi was sued by the BJP leader for his comments after the Supreme Court on April 10 ruled that classified documents accessed by the media can be used as evidence to consider a review of its earlier decision on the Rafale jet deal. Welcoming that order, which opened up the possibility of the court reconsidering its clean chit to the government on the deal, Rahul Gandhi had said the "court agreed that chowkidar chor hai".
Responding to the Supreme Court notice to explain, the Congress president expressed regret and admitted that he had falsely quoted the top court as "rhetorical flourish in the heat of political campaigning" without having seen, read or analysed the order.