The Supreme Court Thursday deferred hearing of a plea challenging Sonia Gandhi’s election from Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 on the issue of her citizenship and for allegedly playing the communal card to garner Muslim votes. A bench headed by Justice A R Dave said a seven-judge Constitution bench was already hearing a matter on a similar issue and therefore it will not be appropriate to take a view in this matter now.
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“Similar issue is being dealt with by a seven-judge Constitution bench. Let that issue be decided. Then we can take up this matter. We are not passing any orders. If we take a view in this matter, then it will not be appropriate as larger bench is hearing the issue,” the bench said.
The Allahabad High Court had on July 11 dismissed a petition filed under the Representation of People Act, 1951 with costs and held that the election petition lacked material facts and did not constitute a complete cause of action.
On the plea that Gandhi has committed “corrupt practice” by allegedly seeking Muslim votes, the high court had said it should be shown that the act was done during the election campaign between the date of her candidature and the poll and she should have committed the act herself or through her agent or any other person with her consent to appeal for votes on ground of her religion.
The election petition filed by one Ramesh Singh contended that Sonia Gandhi has dual citizenship, as she is an Italian citizen by birth and the Italian law does not allow dual citizenship.
He had also sought that her election from Rae Bareli be set aside as void and as she allegedly had got an appeal made to Muslim voters through the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid to vote for her and her party, the Indian National Congress, ahead of elections, which amounted to corrupt practice.
The high court had said the allegation of corrupt practice was based on news channel reports which were of no value if it is without any further proof of what had actually happened.
It had said that these reports cannot be taken into consideration unless it is accompanied by the statement of the reporter who voiced the news report in the TV channels.