The exemption was granted till February 17 by Justice M L Tahilyani who was on Tuesday hearing a petition filed by Gandhi seeking quashing of the defamation case filed against him and others by RSS activist Rajesh Kunte.

Kunte had filed the defamation case in the court of Bhiwandi Magistrate alleging that Rahul had said during an election rally in March last year that an RSS worker had killed Mahatma Gandhi.

Magistrate S V Swamy had in July 2013 issued summons to Gandhi to appear before him in the case.

The same court had exempted Gandhi from appearing in October, but asked him to appear on January seventh.

While the HC is yet to decide the issue of quashing the case, it has exempted Gandhi from appearing before the Bhiwandi court till February 17.

Gandhi's lawyers R S Cheema and P K Dhakephalkar argued that the complaint against the Congress leader was motivated and malafide and deserved to be quashed.

They argued that defamation case was not made out against Gandhi and the criminal proceedings against him were part of the BJP's election campaign which was supported by RSS.

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