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Prez throws out petition on Sonia

Abdul Kalam?s rejection was based on the opinion of the Election Commission.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 23:10 IST

A petition seeking the disqualification of Sonia Gandhi as member of the Lok Sabha -- on the grounds that she was holding an office of profit as chairperson of the National Advisory Council -- has been rejected by President APJ Abdul Kalam. Kalam’s rejection was based on the opinion of the Election Commission.

In its response to the President, the EC observed that the petition filed on March 18 by Sanjay Jarauliya, a BJP worker from Indore, had become “infructuous” since Sonia resigned as Lok Sabha MP on March 23, while the issue was being examined by the EC.

The incident had triggered a debate on whether the EC would initiate action against the Congress chief with retrospective effect as it had done in the case of Jaya Bachchan.

The EC had recommended Bachchan's disqualification from the Upper House on the grounds that she was holding an office of profit.

The EC, however, has not made any such suggestion in Sonia's case.

Instead, the EC observed that since the references from the president and governors are quasi-judicial proceedings, it follows the procedures and policies adopted by the Supreme Court and high courts.

If a candidate, whose election had been challenged, ceased to be a member of the House concerned -- on his death or on account of resignation -- the SC treated the appeal as infructuous and dismissed it.

The EC has mentioned details of at least seven references in the past, similar to the one received against Sonia, which had been declared “infructuous”.

Meanwhile, the Centre will come up with a legislation on the issue even if parties don’t give their suggestions. Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee had written to various leaders seeking their views on the matter.