Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship controversy has reached the Supreme Court. The petition filed by two social-political activists of the United Hindu Front and Hindu Mahasabha seeks to disqualify Gandhi from contesting elections in India. It also wants his name to be removed from the electoral roll. The plea is likely to be heard by the top court next week. The petition comes after the home ministry sent a notice to Gandhi seeking clarification on his citizenship status acting on a complaint filed by BJP lawmaker Subramanian Swamy.
The home ministry had asked the Congress chief to intimate factual position of his citizenship within a fortnight. The notice dated April 29, 2019 stated that Swamy had told the ministry that a company named “Backops Limited was registered in the United Kingdom in the year 2003, with address 51 Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9EH and that you (Rahul Gandhi) were one of the Directors and Secretary of the said Company.” The notice also added that Swamy in his complaint had also claimed the two annual returns filed by the company had stated Gandhi’s date of birth as 19/6/1970 and these returns also stated Gandhi as ‘British Citizen.’
This is not the first time that Gandhi’s citizenship issue has reached the top court. In 2015, ML Sharma had filed a PIL against Gandhi’s citizenship status. Then Chief Justice of India HL Dattu had dismissed the petition. The top court had said, “a time may come when anybody who is a little sensitive starts filing PILs.”
Gandhi’s citizenship has been raked by his political opponents in this election season. On April 22, the District Magistrate Court found Gandhi’s Amethi nomination valid and rejected all ‘Raul Vinci’ objections raised by other Independent candidates. Gandhi’s lawyer KC Kaushik was present in the court to argue on his client’s behalf. On the objections raised over Gandhi’s nationality, Kaushik said that Gandhi was born in India and he holds an Indian passport, he never took citizenship of any other country. His passport, Voter-ID, and his income tax, everything is of India. “I don't know who Raul Vinci is or where he came from. Rahul Gandhi had done his M Phil in 1995 from University of Cambridge, I have attached a copy of the certificate,” he had added.
On April 20, an independent candidate Saturday raised objections over the Congress president's nomination from Amethi, alleging discrepancies over citizenship and educational qualifications in his election affidavit. Citing the complaint, the BJP said in New Delhi asked Gandhi to come clean on the matter. Complainant Dhruv Lal's lawyer Ravi Prakash showed reporters purported copies of a certificate of incorporation of a UK-registered company in which the Congress leader is stated to be a British national.