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SC reserves order on Sangma's plea against Mukherjee

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict for 5 December as to whether the plea of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma, challenging the election of Pranab Mukherjee as President, deserves a "regular hearing" or not.

"Arguments concluded. We shall pass the order on 5 December," 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.

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

In the day-long arguments also by Mukherjee's lawyer Harish Salve and Attorney General G E Vahanvati, Jethmalani said the court was required to see as to whether the petition raised any cause of action or not.

"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," he contended.

Earlier, the Attorney General opposed the plea of Sangma on the issue of office of profit.

"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," the law officer, who is assisting the court, said.

PTI