After being absent from India’s bicameral parliament for four months, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s membership in Lok Sabha — the lower house — was restored Monday, according to local media. Following the suspension of the opposition leader’s two-year sentence for defaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Indian Supreme Court, the speaker reinstated his membership. Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years in prison for remarks he made in 2019 that were deemed insulting to Modi and those with the same surname. Anyone sentenced to two years in prison or more is ineligible to serve in India’s parliament, and the initial verdict resulted in Gandhi’s expulsion from the body in March. His conviction stemmed from a remark he made during the 2019 election campaign, in which he questioned why “all thieves have Modi as [their] common surname,” a dig at Modi. Gandhi stated in his 731-page submission to the Supreme Court that his speech was given “in the course of democratic political activity.” His sentence was “gravely detrimental to democratic free speech,” according to the document provided to AFP by his party. The Modi administration has been widely accused of using defamation law to silence critics. Gandhi, the scion of a dynasty that has produced three prime ministers in India, was sentenced to two years in prison, but the sentence was suspended and he was granted bail. An official statement regarding the restoration of Gandhi’s membership said, “In continuation of Notification No. 21/4(3)/2023/TO(B), dated the 24th March, 2023, the Supreme Court of India has passed an order on 04.08.2023 in Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No. 8644/2023, staying the conviction of Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala, which was ordered by the judgment dated23.03.2023 of the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat in C.C./ 18712/2019.” “In view of order dated 04.08.2023 of the Supreme Court of India, the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi, notified vide Gazette Notification no. 21/4(3)/2023/TO(B) dated the 24th March, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, has ceased to operate subject to further judicial pronouncements,” it added.