SC throws out plea to bar Rahul from fighting polls

The Asian Age.  | J Venkatesan

India, All India

The returning officer of Amethi had set aside these allegations while accepting Rahul Gandhi’s nomination papers.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed at the admission stage a writ petition filed by two activists for a direction to the Election Commission to debar the Congress President Rahul Gandhi from contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Amethi and Wayanad constituencies till his citizenship issue is decided.  

A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna told counsel for the two petitioners “Some company in some form has mentioned Rahul Gandhi as a British citizen, so does he become a British citizen? He (Rahul Gandhi) is not aspiring to be Prime Minister. But if 123 crore people say ‘le he be the PM’ would you mind.”

The petitioners, Shri Jai Bhagwan Goyal and Shri Chander Prakash Tyagi challenged the Indian Citizenship of Rahul Gandhi and said they apprehended that Rahul Gandhi might become the Prime Minister despite his dual citizenship.

When the CJI asked the petitioner’s counsel “who are you”, the counsel said “his client was a public spirited person and a social worker, who is also in politics.” The CJI remarked, “You are in the politics of social work”.

Justice Gupta asked the counsel “why have you chosen 2019 to come to court with the apprehension about Mr Gandhi’s citizenship status.” When counsel said “the documents surfaced only in 2015”, justice Gupta said “still you waited till 2019 to approach the court.” The bench then dismissed the petition.    

The “activists” alleged that Rahul Gandhi has acquired British citizenship, which, according to them, is evident from documents filed by Backops Ltd before the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales.

They submitted that the Representation of the People Act provides for disqualification for registration of a person in an electoral roll who is not a citizen of India. Since it is apparent from the documents of the Registrar of Companies of England and Wales, he cannot be a voter in electoral rolls.

They said the Election Commission has a responsibility to ensure that a non-citizen is not registered as a voter in the electoral rolls nor allowed to vote in the elections. The Commission has miserably failed in upholding the law by permitting Rahul Gandhi to file his nominations.

Further they said that Rahul Gandhi has concealed the factum of the British nationality and by concealment of this fact he has been successful in getting elected as a Member of Parliament in the year 2009 and 2014.   

The activists have sought a declaration from the court that the Congress President is not competent to contest elections, as he is not a citizen of India and to direct the commission to probe the alleged acquisition of British Citizenship by Rahul Gandhi and debar him his contesting the polls and to remove his name from the electoral rolls.

The returning officer of Amethi had set aside these allegations while accepting Rahul Gandhi’s nomination papers. On a complaint filed by the Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, Subramanian Swamy, the Home Ministry has also sought response from the Congress President in two weeks.

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