Germany on Wednesday said it had taken note of Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha, adding that Berlin expected the standards of judicial independence and fundamental democratic principles to apply in his case.
Germany is the second country to have commented on Rahul’s disqualification after the US. The German comment came in response to a question, according to a video tweeted by public broadcaster DW with English subtitles. The US, too, commented in response to questions asked at the state department briefing earlier this week.
Union law minister Kiren Rijiju accused Rahul of “inviting foreign powers for interference into India’s internal affairs”.
It’s routine for all embassies to keep an eye on political developments in their host countries.
Embassies do establish contact with leaders across the political spectrum. Indian diplomats too routinely engage with politicians of all hues overseas besides the host government.
“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. It will then become clear whether this verdict will stand and whether the suspension of his mandate has any basis. We expect that the standards of judicial independence and fundamental democratic principles will equally apply to the proceedings against Rahul Gandhi,” a German foreign ministry spokesperson said.
The US state department had, in response to questions on Monday on Rahul’s disqualification, said: “Respect for the rule of law and judicial independence is a cornerstone of any democracy, and we’re watching Mr. Gandhi’s case in Indian courts, and we engage with the Government of India on our shared commitment to democratic values -– including, of course, freedom of expression.
“In our engagements with our Indian partners, we continue to highlight the importance of democratic principles and the protection of human rights, including freedom of expression, as a key to strengthening both our democracies.”
Asked if the US government had engaged with Rahul Gandhi, state department spokesperson Vedant Patel had said he did not have any specific details on that, adding: “It is normal and standard for us to engage with members of Opposition parties in any country where we have bilateral relationships.”