Vol. 5 Num 1022 Tue. April 17, 2007  

Indian SC mulls Sonia's right to hold public office

India's top court accepted a petition by a non-governmental group Monday seeking to bar Sonia Gandhi, the chief of the ruling Congress party, from holding public office because she was born in Italy, a news report said.

The Supreme Court said an important constitutional issue has been raised in the petition by the Rashtriya Mukti Morcha, or the National Freedom Front, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

The front is a sociopolitical rights organization.

The court would seek the views of the federal government and the independent Election Commission before starting regular hearings in the case, PTI said.

Sonia Gandhi married into India's powerful Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty in the late 1960s. She became a full-fledged Indian citizen in 1984, but her Italian origins have regularly been used against her by her opponents. Under Indian laws, any Indian citizen can hold a public office.