From the Tribune, Online Edition, Wednesday, May 19, 2004, Chandigarh, India
Swamy meets Kalam on Sonia’s issue
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 18
The Janata Party President, Mr Subramanian Swamy, said today that he had urged the President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, not to administer the oath as the Prime Minister to Ms Sonia Gandhi, alleging that her citizenship was in “doubt”.
Mr Swamy told The Tribune that he had explained to the President about the flaw in her citizenship in details in his meeting with him yesterday and again wrote a letter to him today.
Since an Italian citizen never forfeits his/her citizenship under the Constitution of that country, granting of the citizenship to Ms Sonia Gandhi by the Indian Government in 1983 would be termed as “illegal” as she has been retaining the citizenship of the country of her birth under its law. This would amount her having “dual” citizenship, which the Indian Constitution does not recognise, Mr Swamy said.
He said there was no provision under the Indian Citizenship Act in 1983 entitling the foreign born spouse of an Indian citizen to acquire citizenship by registration as this right was given by an amendment in Section 5(1)(C) of the Act in 1986 during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure. Because of this test of law, her citizenship would be “illegal”, Mr Swamy claimed.
He said he had also raised the doctrine of “reciprocity” of the Indian Constitution vis-a-vis Italian Constitution as the latter prohibits an Indian from holding any constitutional post in that country on acquiring Italian citizenship.
Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan (RSA), opposing Ms Sonia Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister, today met the President and drew his attention to the alleged “legal infirmity” in her citizenship.
The five-member delegation, headed by former BJP leader K.N. Govindacharya also raised the question of the “reciprocity” of the Indian law vis-a-vis Italian law on the citizenship issue.
If by the logic of law of “reciprocity” an Indian could not become even a cooperator in Italy, how could an Italian become the Prime Minister in this country, they said.
The delegation informed Mr Kalam that at least two petitions raising the issue had been pending in the Delhi High Court since 1999 and another public interest litigation (PIL) was only moved in the Supreme Court yesterday.