"Rahul Gandhi needs to be more careful in the future. It was unfortunate," a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph said in their verdict.
Lekhi had accused Gandhi of misquoting the April 10 order of the apex court in which it had allowed additional leaked documents to be put on record as an evidence in the Rafale case.
Gandhi, who was then the president of the Congress party, allegedly said that the apex court had accepted that 'chowkidar' (a reference to Prime Minister Modi), is a "chor' (thief).
Pursuant to this, the Supreme Court issued a contempt notice against him. Chief Justice Gogoi was categorical that Gandhi had to either offer a clear-cut apology or face criminal contempt.
Subsequently, Gandhi tendered an unconditional apology to the top court and sought closure of the contempt proceedings against him.
During the course of proceedings, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who represented Lekhi, had argued that Gandhi's apology should be rejected and action must be taken against him.
"He (Gandhi) has only expressed regret. The law is clear in contempt cases that the line starts with an unconditional apology," he had submitted before the court.