The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Joint session unlikely

New Delhi, Sept. 2: Jayalalithaa’s outburst against Sonia Gandhi may have been music to the BJP’s ears, but the Centre is unlikely to accept her suggestion of convening a joint Parliament session to pass a law to ban foreigners from occupying high constitutional posts.

The Centre, in 1998, had tried to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to pre-empt the Congress chief from occupying high offices but abandoned the move fearing that the Supreme Court might strike it down.

“The citizenship issue is so complicated with far-reaching ramifications that it cannot be treated like the Prevention of Terrorism Act which was passed by a joint session of Parliament,” said a government source.

The Tamil Nadu chief minister today said in Chennai that the government should bring in a legislation banning foreigners from occupying high offices. “If need be, the Centre should convene the joint session of Parliament for this purpose, like the one they did for passing Pota,” the ADMK chief said.

Last month, the government had submitted before Delhi High Court that the President had not done anything illegal in asking Sonia to explore the possibility of forming the government after the fall of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime in 1999.

The deposition was in reply to a public interest litigation by the Rashtriya Mukti Morcha, which challenged the presidential invite on the ground that Sonia was not a natural-born citizen. The Morcha had alleged that the home ministry did not follow the proper procedure in granting her citizenship.

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