SC dismisses Sangma's plea challenging Mukherjee's election as President

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 05, 2012 06:20 hrs

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma's petition challenging the election of Pranab Mukherjee as the President of India.

The apex court ruled by 3 to 2 majority that Sangma's petition is not maintainable for regular hearing.

Sangma had moved the court demanding that Mukherjee's election should be declared null and void as he had held an office of profit - chairman of Indian Statistical Institute - on the day he filed his nomination.

The apex court on November 21 had said that it would take a final call on entertaining Sangma's plea, challenging the election of Pranab Mukherjee as President, on December 5.

"Arguments concluded. We shall pass the order on December 5," a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said after Ram Jethmalani, counsel for Sangma, wrapped up arguments with the claim that the plea deserved a regular hearing, as it affects the "whole nation" because the person who became President would be custodian of the Constitution for next five years.

Mukherjee was represented by eminent lawyer Harish Salve and attorney general G E Vahanvati.

Earlier, Vahanvati had opposed Sangma's plea that Mukherjee was holding an office of profit when he was nominated for the post of president by the UPA, which he claimed was unconstitutional.

"An office of profit is an office which must be under the government, which enjoys the power to appoint and remove and some salary or emoluments must be attached to the post," Vahanvati said, adding that this was not the case with the post of Chairperson of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).

"No pecuniary benefits was attached to the post of Chairman of ISI.. Moreover, the post must be such where the office-bearers can be influenced by the appointing authority," he said.

Presidential election was held on July 22. (ANI)

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