New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday told the Supreme Court   that at the time of filing his nomination papers for the president's post he was not holding any office of profit.

He said that the moment he resigned as the finance minister he ceased to be the leader of the house in Lok Sabha. The apex court constitution bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice S.S. Nijjar, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Ranjan Gogoi was told that it was only a minister in the union government who could be the leader of the house in Lok Sabha.

Senior Counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Mukherjee, said this during a preliminary hearing on P.A. Sangma's petition challenging Mukherjee's election as the president, "The leader of the house is either the prime minister or a cabinet minister appointed by the prime minister and the moment he quits the government he ceases to be the leader of the house," Salve told the bench.

The senior counsel described as "absurd" to allegation that Mukherjee was given a farewell by the party and he resigned from the government but he continued to be the leader of house in Lok Sabha and the house website continued to show him as the leader.

Opposing senior counsel Ram Jethamalani's plea that the court should follow the Civil Procedure Code involving recording of evidence and cross examination of witnesses, Salve said that court should hear the petition strictly in accordance with the constitutional provision and the Supreme Court Rules 1966.

Jethmalani told the court earlier that Mukherjee's letter terminating his leadership as leader of the party in Lok Sabha was addressed to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and not to any constitutional authority. Salve will continue his arguments on Wednesday.


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