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President air to be cleared

New Delhi, Nov. 29: The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on the constitutional question of the election procedure to the office of the President of India.

The challenge came through a writ petition, questioning the rule framed by Parliament mandating 50 MPs as proposers and an equal number as seconders.

The petition, filed by Supreme Court advocate Charan Lal Sahu, contended that the rule “was violative of the Constitution”.

It also challenged the election of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as President.

The bench, while reserving its judgment, said the question that the procedure for contesting the presidential elections “violated fundamental rights” would be answered.

Sahu contended that the election process to seat a person in the office of the President was “vitiated by illegal provisions” enacted by Parliament. While Sahu’s nomination papers were rejected ab initio for lack of 100 members of Parliament as proposers and seconders, he contended that the returning officer had “wrongly accepted the nomination papers of Kalam and Capt. Lakshmi Sehgal”.

Sahu also alleged that Kalam had not provided his actual age.

According to Sahu, all those who possess “qualifications” prescribed under Article 58 of the Constitution should be allowed to contest elections to the post of President. Article 58 lays down that a person contesting elections to the office of the President should be:

n a citizen of India

n should have completed the age of 35

n should be qualified to be a Member of Parliament and

n should not hold any office of profit.

Sahu’s contented that “more than these qualifications or conditions prescribed in the Constitution, Parliament should not add anything”.

Delhi High Court, in July, had dismissed a similar petition by Sahu, challenging the rejection of his nomination papers for the post of President. The court had also imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 on Sahu.

Sahu had sought a direction from the high court to postpone the presidential election on the ground that the provision of 50 proposers and 50 seconders in the President and Vice-president Election Act was contrary to constitutional provisions.

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