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Foreign origin issue: SC notice to Centre, EC
April 16, 2007 13:14 IST
Last Updated: April 16, 2007 21:49 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin was again raked up in the Supreme Court, which on Monday decided to examine the issue of persons of foreign origin holding public offices saying it was an important constitutional issue.
A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran issued notices to the Centre and the Election Commission but made it clear that it will examine the issue in context of the persons who are citizens by registration.
"You have raised a constitutional issue. We will confine the question whether the person who is not born in the country can be appointed to a public office," the bench said after Rashtriya Mukti Morcha raised the issue of Sonia being invited to form government at the Centre by the then President in 1999 after the National Democratic Alliance lost the no-confidence motion.
The matter came up by way of a petition filed by the RMM, a socio-political organisation, challenging the Delhi High Court verdict that had dismissed it on the ground that it lacked merits.
Senior advocate P N Lekhi, appearing for the RMM, submitted that Sonia, a citizen by registration, was invited to form the government when she was not even a parliamentarian.
The RMM contented that a political party cannot be headed by a person who has assumed citizenship by registration.
"Whenever a particular name is made, a cocoon is built around the name," Lekhi said in an oblique reference to Congress president.
He said even at that time in 1999 Mulayam Singh Yadav had said he would not join a government of a party headed by a person of foreign origin who assumed citizenship by registration.
"On that day, situation was saved but the threat is looming large because the person whom Mulayam Singh referred to is still at political stage and threat is imminent," he said.
Lekhi claimed that after the last general election, Sonia wanted to be prime minister but the President perhaps said that the question of foreign origin was before the court.
He said none of the 205 members of the United Nations has in their respective constitutional provisions where a person of foreign origin is either heading a political party or holding any political office in the state.
The RMM referred the incident of Fujimori, the President of Peru, who was given shelter in Japan as he was a Peruvian but with a Japanese decedent.
He said when a corruption charge was levelled against Fujimori, the Japanese government gave him protection and here lies the danger of a person not having roots in the country being entrusted with the political and constitutional power.