EC notice to Sonia on Belgian honour

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (UNI) The Election Commission today served notice on Congress President Sonia Gandhi on a disqualification complaint against her for having accepted a Belgian honour.

Commission sources said after a split opinion, the EC issued a notice to Mrs Gandhi on a complaint against her by Mr P Rajan, an advocate in Kerala High Court.

The EC went into great details regarding the merit of the case and announced its order after prolonged deliberations. The split verdict was two in favour with one against.

The Congress Chief had accepted the offer in November 2006, which created a political storm.

The three-member Commission, headed by Chief Election Commission N Gopalaswamy, asked her to respond in a period of three weeks.

Mrs Gandhi was conferred the 'Order of Leopold' from the Belgian government. The Leopold order is the second highest civilian award offered by the Belgian government and was given for her contribution towards 'building a more tolerant society'.

The EC also asked the Ministry of External Affairs to furnish details regarding the award.

The Ministry has been asked to file its reply within three weeks of the notice being served.

The Commission wanted to know from the Ministry as to whether it violated any norms relating to the Indian Constitution.

The complainant had sought disqualification of the Congress President from the Lok Sabha.

UNI BKS SB KN2143

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