The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking direction to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to debar Congress president Rahul Gandhi from contesting the Lok Sabha polls after he had “voluntarily acquired British nationality.”

CJI Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the plea stating that “there was no merit in it”.

The petitioners – Jai Bhagwan Goyal and Chander Prakash Tyagi – had said that in a form along with the annual data of a UK-based company in 2005-06, it was allegedly mentioned that Rahul Gandhi is a British citizen.

“If some company in some form mentions his nationality as British, does he become a British citizen?” the bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna asked the petitioners.

In April, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a notice to Rahul Gandhi over his citizenship after receiving a complaint from Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy.

The Ministry had also asked Gandhi to intimate the factual position in the matter within 15 days.

“I am directed to say that this ministry has received a representation from Dr Subramanian Swamy, in which it has been brought out that a company named Backops Limited was registered in the United Kingdom in the year 2003, with address 51 Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9EH and that you were one of the directors and secretary of the said company,” the letter from BC Joshi, Director, Citizenship, in the home ministry read.

The letter further said the complaint mentioned that in the company’s annual returns filed on October 10, 2005, and 31 October 2006, Gandhi’s date of birth has been given as June 19, 1970, and that the Congress president had declared his nationality as British.

In the Dissolution application of the company dated 17/02/2009 too, the letter said, his nationality has been mentioned as British.

The notice came as a major setback for the Congress president who is contesting from the constituencies of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad in Kerala in the Lok Sabha polls.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had played down the notice to Gandhi as a “normal process”.