Former Lok Sabha speaker Purno A. Sangma
Former Lok Sabha speaker Purno A. Sangma
New Delhi: Former Lok Sabha speaker Purno A. Sangma, who lost the presidential election to Pranab Mukherjee, will Tuesday file an election petition challenging Mukherjee’s election as president.

Satya Pal Jain, who along with BJP MP Ram Jethmalani, is acting as Sangma’s lawyer, told IANS that the petition would be filed Tuesday.

“As per the election law, defeated candidate can file the petition challenging the election, so Sangma will file the election petition Tuesday,” Jain said.

The petition can be filed either by the defeated opponent, or 20 of the voters.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which backed Sangma as presidential candidate, has distanced itself from the process within days of Mukherjee getting elected.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy had said that “any decision by Sangma to approach the Supreme Court will be his personal initiative”.

Before the election, Sangma’s team, which also included BJP at the time, had raised objections on Mukherjee’s nomination stating that he held an office of profit as chairman of Indian Statistical Institute at the time of the nomination.

They also alleged that a copy of resignation letter submitted by Mukherjee carried a forged signature.

An objection was raised at the time of scrutiny of nomination forms, but was rejected by returning officer. The BJP and allies had at that time backed the move.

The party had also backed the team’s decision to move to the Election Commission seeking rejection of Mukherjee’s nomination.

The Election Commission had then directed them to approach the apex court with an election petition, which could be filed only after the results were declared.

This will be the second occasion when an election petition is filed against a sitting president.

In 1969, when a batch of election petitions were filed against election of V.V. Giri, who defeated ruling Congress’s official candidate Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy after then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who backed Giri, gave a call for conscience vote.

The Supreme Court had offered to go to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to record president’s statement. However, Giri said he would come to the court premises.

A special chair was ordered for Giri, as it was unprecedented for a sitting president to appear in court. The case was finally dismissed.

Source: IANS