Apex court dismisses Abhinav Bharat plea against old ruling

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a plea of Abhinav Bharat, a registered charitable trust, to scrap a 1950 order of India’s last Governor-General and a 1960 ruling of the apex court that the two could legally help Commonwealth citizens to become Indian parliamentarians.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam dismissed the lawsuit, saying that neither had India’s last Governor-General C. Rajagopalachari’s order nor the apex court ruling created any problem so far.

Appearing personally, Abhinav Bharat president Pankaj Phadnis submitted to the court that the erstwhile Governor-General had in 1950 issued an order that no Commonwealth country could be termed as foreign state for the Constitution of India.

Phadnis told the court that the order was passed on Jan 23, 1950, - three days before India adopted its constitution and turned a republic.

He added that a decade later in 1960, a five-judge bench of the apex court endorsed the Governor-General’s order.

The order was ratified during adjudication of a case related to deportation of a Pakistani, who was caught in India for resorting to anti-India activity, Phadnis said.

He said citing the Governor-General’s 1950 order, the Pakistani contended that being a Commonwealth citizen, he could not be treated as a national belonging to a foreign country and could not be deported.

Though the apex court upheld the Pakistani national’s detention and ordered his deportation, it did not strike down the Governor-General’s order, said the Abhinav Bharat chief.

Rather, endorsing the 1950 order, the bench said that for the purpose of various Articles of the Constitution, including Article 102 (1)(d), the Commonwealth countries cannot be treated as foreign powers, Phadnis submitted to the court.

He pointed out that Article 102(1)(2) of the Constitution deals with the disqualification of Members of Parliament.

It provides that a parliamentarian would lose his membership to the house in case he acquires the citizenship of a foreign country or takes an oath of allegiance to it.

Phadnis contended that Article 102(1)(d) along with the 1950 order and the apex court 1960 ruling together create a situation where a Pakistani national or British national may run and win the Lok Sabha election in India, or an Indian parliamentarian can become a citizen of Pakistan or Britain without attracting disqualification from the House.


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