“Just because some company named Rahul Gandhi a British citizen, does he become a British citizen?” Chief Justice Gogoi asked petitioner Jai Bhagwan Goyal.
“He is not aspiring to be Prime Minister… But if 123 crore people say ‘be the PM’, would you mind?” Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi asked a petitioner, who feared that Congress president Rahul Gandhi may become the prime minister despite his ‘dual citizenship’.
“Who are you?”, the CJI then asked Mr. Goyal and his lawyer replied that his client was a “public-spirited person and a social worker who is also in politics.”
“You are in the politics of social work?”, the CJI countered.
Then it was the turn of Justice Deepak Gupta to ask Mr. Goyal why he had particularly chosen 2019 to come to court with apprehensions about Mr. Gandhi’s citizenship status.
Mr. Goyal’s lawyer said the documents came to light in 2015 only.
“Still it took you 2019 to approach the court?”, Justice Gupta said.
The petition was filed shortly after the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notice to Mr. Gandhi on the question of his “dual citizenship”.
Mr. Goyal wanted to debar Mr. Gandhi from contesting the Lok Sabha polls and “becoming a Member of Parliament” after the latter had “voluntarily acquired British nationality.” He urged the court to “command” the government to decide the question of voluntary acquisition of British citizenship by Mr. Gandhi and consequently determine his Indian citizenship.
The petition said it was evident that Mr. Gandhi had acquired British nationality. This was incident from the incorporation certificate of BACKOPS Limited, a company in the U.K., and returns filed by the company.
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.”
On November 30, 2015, the court dismissed a public interest litigation 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.
But the court found it too “frivolous” and called it an attempt by the lawyer to start a “roving inquiry”.
Instead of entertaining the petition, the Bench of then Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice (retired) Amitava Roy berated the lawyer, M.L. Sharma. The court said PIL pleas were not meant to target one individual or organisation but was a medium to resolve human suffering through good governance.
Source – The Hindu