The Patna High Court today stayed the proceedings before a trial court here against former Congress president Rahul Gandhi in connection with his alleged slanderous remarks against those having "Modi" surname.

Justice Sandeep Kumar stayed the proceedings while hearing a petition of Gandhi, who contended that since he has already been convicted in a similar case by a Gujarat court, he cannot be put on trial for the same offence again.

"The high court has stayed trial proceedings till May 15, the date on which we will be submitting our reply to the petition," said S D Sanjay, the counsel for former Bihar deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.

Modi had filed a defamation suit against Gandhi a few days after the latter gave the infamous speech at an election rally in Karnataka, during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Notably, the MP/MLA Court in Patna had, vide a recent order, asked Gandhi to appear in connection with the petition on April 25.

The Congress leader has been awarded two years in prison by a court in Surat, where BJP MLA Purnesh Modi had sued him for defamation for having made the snide remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fugitive defaulter Nirav Modi and former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi. The sentence awarded by the Surat court also led to the disqualification of Gandhi, who represented Kerala's Wayanad seat in the Lok Sabha.

Last week, Surat Court rejected Gandhi's plea for a stay on his conviction. The Court said that comparing persons having ‘Modi’ surname with thieves would have definitely caused mental agony.

With PTI Inputs