New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a petition challenging the candidature of UPA's presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee accusing him of abusing his office as Finance Minister and securing "pecuniary favour" in the form of votes from various political parties in the upcoming Presidential election.
The petition, filed by an advocate, had sought registration of a case against the ex-finance minister under the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly misusing his official position by approaching various MPs or MLAs for securing their votes for his candidature in the Presidential election to be held on July 19.
A vacation bench of justices VK Jain and Pratibha Rani, however, "dismissed the petition as withdrawn" and said that asking for vote does not amount to asking for pecuniary advantage.
The petition accused Pranab of securing pecuniary favour in the form of votes from political parties in the upcoming Presidential election.
"Obtaining or asking for vote does not amount to pecuniary advantage. Show us that asking for vote amounts to asking for valuable thing.
"It does not amount to criminal offence," the bench said. Petitioner advocate ML Sharma argued that a person's vote is a valuable thing and if a man assures something in favour of vote, it comes under the category of pecuniary advantage.
The court, however, rejected Sharma's arguments and said that the nominations for the election were filed on Thursday only and before that Mukherjee was not a candidate. "Petitioner in person seeks liberty to withdraw it. The petition is dismissed as withdrawn," the bench said.
Sharma had also sought direction for the appointment of a judicial committee to prove alleged misconduct of Mukherjee for securing support of various MLAs/ MPs for his presidential election while being a public servant.
"Be pleased to register criminal case under section 13(1)(d)(iii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act to prosecute respondent no. 2 (Mukherjee) and others for criminal misconduct in the interest of justice," the petition said.
Sharma, in his petition, quoted several news reports and said on June 21 after being approached by the then Finance Minister, Shiv Sena party leader Bal Thackeray also declared his party's support to Mukherjee as presidential candidate.
"Cause of action arose to file this petition on June 15, 2012 when Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party Chief) took a 'U turn' after having meeting with Congress party, in exchange of undisclosed return/favour, to support Congress candidate declining his pre-declaration of ex-President of India APJ Kalam," the petition said.
He also said that other opposition political parties were also approached by Mukherjee for their support to him. Even the Left parties declared that either they will abstain or will support the Congress candidate, he said.
"Respondent no.2 (Mukherjee) jointly with respondent no.1 (Centre), despite holding public office, succeeded to secure for himself for his forthcoming Presidential election a support of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj, JD(U), Shiv Sena and Left parties" Sharma said.