The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking directions to the Centre and Election Commission to bar Congress chief Rahul Gandhi from contesting the Lok Sabha elections till allegations over his citizenship were resolved.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi rejected the contention of the petitioners, who said that in a form along with the annual data of a UK-based company in 2005-06, it was allegedly mentioned that Gandhi is a British citizen.
“If some company in some form mentions his nationality as British, does he become a British citizen,” the bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna told the petitioners.
The plea, which was filed by Delhi residents Jai Bhagwan Goyal and C P Tyagi, was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
In their plea, petitioners said they were “social and public-spirited persons” and pointed out that as per section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1981, only Indian citizens are entitled to register a political party. The duo alleged that the Congress chief was contesting polls “despite prima facie evidence of his loss of Indian citizenship” and added that he “has acquired British citizenship voluntarily”.
Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a notice to Gandhi in connection with a complaint filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy raising questions over his citizenship. The ministry had directed the Congress leader to “intimate the factual position on this matter”.
However, the grand old party later released what it called the “original certificate of incorporation” of the company quoted in the MHA notice, and argued it clearly shows that Gandhi is an Indian.
The Congress chief had earlier told Parliament’s ethics committee that he had never “sought or acquired British citizenship”, and that his “identity is that of an Indian”.
Reacting to the MHA notice and the plea, sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi had said, “I have never heard such rubbish. All (the people) know Rahul Gandhi was born (and) raised here. The entire Hindustan knows that Rahul Gandhi is a Hindustani…he was born before them…he was brought up before them…he grew up before them…. What rubbish is this?”