Plea Against Pratibha Dismissed

Pratibha PatilNew Delhi: Yesterday, the Supreme Court disapproved a public interest lawsuit appeal that sought abolition of the proposal of Pratibha Patil for the Presidential seat. The petition wanted Ms. Patil disqualified on the ground that she was facing up a criminal case and was also an undischarged insolvent. Noticing that the court cannot pursue mere accusations, a vacation Bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and P.K. Balasubramanyan dismissed the petition of advocate Manohar Lal Sharma.

The Bench said, “We cannot decide on the validity of the nomination or her disqualification in a petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution. It is for the Election Commission to decide. If you want, you approach the Commission.”

“This petition is filed under Article 32. We find no ground to interfere and exercise our jurisdiction. However, this will not prevent the petitioner from approaching the appropriate authorities for redress of his grievance. Petition dismissed,” the order said.

After the decision, Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati and Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam declared the court that a seven-judge Bench had confirmed that courts should not get in the way once an election process starts out.

When senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi backed Mr. Vahanvati’s statement, the Bench said, “The question is who is responsible for this.”

Previously, the Bench asked the requester whether it was a private interest litigation or a public interest litigation. “Can we proceed on your allegation that she [Ms. Patil] is an undischarged insolvent? You have to satisfy us on the basis of some materials. You have to show that this particular person is responsible for all your allegations. There is no material, no documents. We do not know whether the materials you rely on is correct or not. Tell us on what basis we can act. Can we proceed without any material? You withdraw this petition.”

The requester alleged he tried his best to obtain documents but nothing was made available to him.

The Bench said, “Where is the adjudication by the insolvency court that she is an undischarged insolvent? When she is not declared an undischarged insolvent by the competent court, where is the question of her disqualification?”

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