New Delhi: Following the Supreme Court observation on the matter, Congress Tuesday said that Rahul Gandhi will not tender an apology over his remarks against the RSS and will instead substantiate them with historical facts and evidence before the court to support his claim.
"On a suggestion of Shri Rahul Gandhi expressing regret or apology, the question does not arise. Such a suggestion has been made in the past and not accepted by Rahul Gandhi.
"Mr Gandhi is a mature politician with intimate knowledge of historical facts. Congress Party and Mr Gandhi will defend these remarks at appropriate forum," PTI quoted Congress' chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala as saying.
At the AICC briefing, party spokesman Gaurav Gogoi said that "Rahul Gandhi has said that he will not seek an apology over what he has said and will fight the case as he wants to present his facts along with historical proof and evidence to prove his point and help bring out the truth before everyone that we all know."
"At this point, Congress party stands with Rahul Gandhi and we are confident that we will be able to present a strong case, present all the facts and historical evidence that we are supposed to make", he added.
Asked about today's order of the Supreme Court, he said there is a case which is undergoing in the Supreme Court and the final judgement is yet to be heard and the case is also yet to be heard on its full merits, for which they are waiting.
"Today, the Supreme Court has made some observations. We would not like to comment on the observations. Nonetheless, we are confident that when the case would be heard on its merits, we will present historical evidence and documents that support Rahul Gandhi's claim. We respect the Supreme Court."
Meanwhile, the RSS accused the Congress of "consistently trying to spread lies" about it and assailed its Rahul Gandhi for "avoiding trial" in a defamation case against him in Maharashtra's Bhiwandi for linking the outfit with Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
The BJP's ideological mentor also said Congress stood "exposed" after the Supreme Court said Rahul Gandhi should not have engaged in "collective denunciation" of the organisation.
"Congress had been consistently trying to spread lies and baseless allegations about RSS. Today's Supreme Court ruling has exposed the Congress," RSS' head of communications department Manmohan Vaidya said.
"They (Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders) are avoiding the trial and are repeating the same false allegations against RSS. It seems he does not have faith in India's legal system and respect for it," he told PTI.
RSS activist Rajesh Kunte had lodged a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi for having told an election rally in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra's Thane district in 2014 that RSS was responsible for Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.
Hearing the matter, the Supreme Court today observed that the Congress leader should not have resorted to "collective denunciation" of an organisation and said he will have to face trial in the defamation case if he does not express regret.
"We have held it may be historically correct but the fact or the statement has to meet the test of public good. You can't make collective denunciation," the SC bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R F Nariman said and wondered "why he made a speech quoting wrong historical fact".
The apex court said it has applied its mind and Rahul Gandhi will have to face the trial in the case.