SC starts hearing Sangma’s plea against Pranab election

The Supreme Court on Thursday started hearing former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma's petition against the election of Pranab Mukherjee as President and said that it will go into the merits of the case only after deciding the issues relating to the procedure of adjudication and also if the plea deserved a full hearing.

A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir posted the matter on November 20 when it will hear the parties to ascertain which procedural laws had to be resorted to for hearing Sangma's election petition.

The Bench will also delve on whether a regular hearing is needed in this case or whether it can be dismissed at the preliminary level itself on the grounds alleged by Mukherjee. Mukherjee, in his short reply, had claimed that the petition was devoid of any merit and failed to show any cause of action, thereby warranting a summary dismissal at the stage of preliminary hearing itself.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani appeared for Sangma whereas the President was represented by senior advocate Harish Salve. Attorney General G E Vahanvati assisted the court under the relevant Supreme Court Rules.

"We will go into the merits of the case later. Mr Jethmalani has initially argued on which procedure is to be followed and at what stage — preliminary or regular hearing. We will also have to see if we can go into the merits of the case at the preliminary stage since if we do that, the question will be, what do we hear in regular hearing then," observed the Bench, adding it will hear all the counsel on the next date on these aspects.

Earlier, Jethmalani had requested the court to apply the principles of civil procedure code while hearing the petition. He said that the court could frame the issues and hear the matter since the pleadings got complete after Mukherjee filed a reply.

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