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A day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi was sent a notice by the Union Home Ministry seeking a response to charges that he held “British” citizenship, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre and the Election Commission to debar him from contesting the Lok Sabha election till the issue is settled.

The petitioners — Jai Bhagwan Goyal and C P Tyagi — have alleged that since there was prima facie evidence that has been produced before the Home Ministry and the EC, Gandhi should not have been allowed to contest the  election. Rahul is contesting from two constiteuencies—Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad in Kerala. The petitioner sought a direction to the EC to remove Rahul’s name from the “electoral roll till the decision of the question of acquisition of his British citizenship”.

The plea was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The lawyer representing the petitioners requested that the matter be heard next week. “We will see,” the bench said.

Even though the returning officer of Amethi last week, set aside all objections on  Rahul’s nomination papers and deemed his affidavit valid after scrutinizing allegations of discrepancies over his citizenship and other issues, the  letter from the union home ministry has given Rahul a fortnight’s time to respond.

“The MHA has requested Rahul Gandhi to intimate factual position on the matter. It has given him 15 days to respond to the notice. And we are now waiting for his response,” said a senior MHA official.

—India Legal Bureau

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