SC rejects Sangma’s plea against Pranab

New Delhi: Former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma's petition challenging the election of Pranab Mukherjee as President was today dismissed by the Supreme Court by a majority ruling holding that it has no substance and does not deserve full and regular hearing.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir by the 3 to 2 majority order said it was convinced that Mukherjee was not holding any "office of profit" warranting his disqualification from contesting the Presidential election.

The CJI, who read out the order on his behalf and justices P Sathasivam and S S Nijjar, said Sangma's petition has to be declined at the preliminary stage as the submissions made on his behalf challenging Mukherjee's election as President are of "little or no substance".

However, in separate dissenting orders, justices J Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi, said they disagree with the decision and opinions expressed by the Chief Justice that Sangma's plea did not deserve full and regular hearing.

While Justice Chelameswar said he will shortly give reasons for his disagreement with conclusion arrived by the CJI, Justice Gogoi was of the view that Sangma's contentions cannot be dismissed at preliminary stage as the allegation of holding office of profit as the Chairman of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) has been made against Mukherjee in which "all facts are in dispute".

However, Justice Gogoi also clarfied that so far as Mukherjee occupying the offices of Leader of the Lok Sabha and the Congress Party did not disclose "any triable issue for a full length hearing under the Rules of the Supreme Court".

Justice Chelameswar said, "I have had the advantage of reading the judgments of both My Lord the Chief Justice and my learned brother Justice Ranjan Gogoi. I regret my inability to agree with the conclusion recorded by the learned Chief Justice that the instant Election Petition does not deserve a regular hearing".