Supreme Court defers hearing of Sangma's plea against Mukherjee to Dec.5
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it would take a final call on entertaining former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma 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.
Jethmalani said: "The plea that whether Mukherjee held office of profit or not can only be ascertained by examining witnesses and documents and hence, the petition deserves a regular hearing."
Earlier, Attorney General Vahanvati 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.