Petition says court should “command” the government to decide the question of voluntary acquisition of British citizenship by Mr. Gandhi and consequently determine his Indian citizenship.
The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea to direct the Election Commission of India (ECI) to debar Congress president Rahul Gandhi from contesting the Lok Sabha polls and “becoming a Member of Parliament” after he had “voluntarily acquired British nationality.”
A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, was responding to the plea by Delhi residents Jai Bhagwan Goyal and Chander Prakash Tyagi, who said they were “social and public spirited persons” who protected democratic institutions.
The petition, which has arraigned the Central government, the ECI and Mr. Gandhi in person, said the court should “command” the government to decide the question of voluntary acquisition of British citizenship by Mr. Gandhi and consequently determine his Indian citizenship. It wanted the court to decide whether a person who has voluntarily acquired British citizenship should be allowed to contest from Amethi and Wayanad, and then “fill a seat” in Parliament.
It was evident that Mr. Gandhi had acquired British nationality, and this was incident from the incorporation certificate of U.K. company BACKOPS Limited and the returns filed by the company, it said.
The petition wanted a declaration that Mr. Gandhi “is not an Indian citizen and he is incompetent to contest as per the provisions of the Constitution read with the Representation of the People Act, 1951.”
The plea follows a notice issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to Mr. Gandhi on the question of his “dual citizenship”.
Dismissal of plea in 2015
On November 30, 2015, the Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by a lawyer seeking a CBI investigation against Mr. Gandhi for allegedly declaring himself a British national before company law authorities in the U.K. The court found it too “frivolous” and called it an attempt by the lawyer to start a “roving inquiry”.
A Bench of then Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice (now retired) Amitava Roy berated the lawyer, M.L. Sharma, saying PIL pleas were not meant to target an individual or an organisation but was a medium to resolve human suffering through good governance.