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CEC appointment issue: Petitioner backs out

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Last updated on: May 13, 2005 16:09 IST

Advocate Ravi Mohan, petitioner who challenged B B Tandon's appointment as Chief Election Commissioner in the wake of controversy over a senior bureaucrat's charges, on Friday dropped the demand shortly after the Delhi high court asked him to file an affidavit confirming the authenticity of a letter on the basis of which he filed the petition.

As the hearing resumed after a brief adjournment made to enable the petitioner to file the affidavit, his counsel Ravi Prakash Gupta submitted before Justice Gita Mittal that he did not want to press the prayers against Tandon.

Tandon is to take over as CEC on May 16.

The petitioner wanted that persons holding office of profit in the government or those facing charges should not be made CEC or Election Commissioner. He added that he had nothing against Tandon.

Only a person holding qualification and experience equivalent to a Judge of the Supreme Court or HC should be appointed to the Commission, he argued.

Asking Mohan to file an amended petition deleting all prayers against Tandon and detailing legal grounds, Justice Mittal fixed August 24 for further hearing.

Earlier, Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra submitted that petitioner did not have the locus standi to approach the court in the matter and he needed to prove his bonafides.

"Tandon was appointed as an EC in 2002 and CEC on April 23, 2005. Why is he coming to the court now?" Malhotra asked.

The Delhi advocate had filed a public interest petition along with the letter of Indian Administrative Officer L V Saptarishi, who had alleged that ECs Tandon and N Gopalaswamy made casteist remarks against the Yadav community.

Saptarishi had claimed the remarks were made on May 13, 2004, when he was called to explain his report on the countermanding of the election in Chapra.

Saptarishi had written to Union Law Minister H R Bhardwaj. A copy of his letter was released by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav at a press conference in Patna on May 6.

Bhardwaj later denied receiving the letter.

With inputs from PTI

Onkar Singh in New Delhi