President trashes Sangma’s charges against him in SC - The New Indian Express

President trashes Sangma’s charges against him in SC

Published: 21st November 2012 10:55 AM

Last Updated: 21st November 2012 10:55 AM

Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for President Pranab Mukherjee before a Bench in the Supreme Court, on Tuesday virtually demolished the arguments of senior counsel Ram Jethmalani who appeared for P A Sangma, former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, who challenged Mukherjee’s election as the President of India.

Appearing before a five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice P Sathasivam, Justice S S Nizzar, Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Ranjan Gagoi, Salve said that Mukherjee was not holding an office of profit as he ceased to be the leader of the Lower House after his resignation from the Union Cabinet.

“The moment he resigns from the Union Cabinet, he ceases to be the leader of the Lok Sabha and therefore, cannot be said to be holding an office of profit,” Salve argued. The allegation that the Lok Sabha website showed Mukherjee as the leader even after filing of his nomination for the presidential poll was of no consequence, Salve felt.

In the morning, Jethmalani told the Bench that the mode of Mukherjee’s  resignation from the post of leader of Lok Sabha was objectionable.

The resignation letter was  not addressed to any constitutional authority but was addressed to the party president. This document raises both questions of fact and law. The authenticity of this letter is a matter of challenge. The signature also does not match, the senior counsel argued.

The official website of the Congress showed that he continued to hold the office of profit. It showed that he was the leader of the Congress Legislature Party till July 30, Jethmalani stated.

“At the preliminary hearing, your Lordships have to hear a lot of things. First of all, the provisions of Civil Procedure Code (CPC)  should be followed. The CPC does not contemplate a short affidavit. They can amend a written statement by taking your permission. It has to be comprehensive. The most important thing is that you’ve to produce the documents on which you rely,” he said.

Jethmalani cited the judgments of Sibu Soren case (2001, 7SCC), that of Jaya Bachan Vs Union of India (2006 5 SCC) to buttress his argument.

Arguments will continue on Wednesday.

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