Sonia, MEA reply to poll panel on Belgian honour

April 12th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the ministry of external affairs (MEA) have replied to an Election Commission notice on a petition seeking her disqualification as MP, Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswamy told reporters here Saturday. “We have got a reply from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the MEA on the notice served to them. These are being sent to petitioner P. Rajan for his reply,” Gopalaswamy told reporters.

Rajan, an advocate from Kochi, had filed a petition with then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, saying Sonia Gandhi’s membership of the Lok Sabha should be quashed as she had accepted the “Order of Leopold”, a Belgian honour, in November 2006.

He had cited Article 102(1)(d) of the constitution, which states that anybody who owes allegiance to the constitution of another country should be disqualified from the parliament membership.

Rajan had alleged that by accepting the award, Gandhi had showed allegiance to the Belgian constitution.

A few months after the petition was received, the Election Commission issued a notice to Gandhi Feb 15, 2008 though the three-member poll panel was split 2:1 in favour of issuing a notice. Information on the matter was sought from the MEA as well.

Poll panel sources said the Commission would wait for Rajan’s reply and take a final call on the issue.

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