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How can President be dragged into legal proceedings: Delhi court

New Delhi: How can the President of India, who has immunity under the Constitution from legal proceedings, be dragged in a lawsuit, a Delhi court on Wednesday asked while hearing a plea seeking deletion of some portions from his book published this year.

The court raised the issue referring to Article 361 of the Constitution which provides protection to President and Governors.

“You have impleaded Pranab Mukherjee who is the President of India. He is immune under Article 361,” Additional District Judge Vineeta Goyal asked the counsel for plaintiffs.

A group of lawyers and a social worker has filed a law suit against Mukherjee seeking deletions of portions from his book ‘Turbulent Years 1980-1996′ making a reference to the demolition of the Babri Masjid allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments.

To this, the plaintiffs’ advocates said a civil suit can be filed against the President during his tenure in respect of any act done by him in his “personal capacity”.

“We are not saying anything against the President of India. We are concerned with the author of the book who is Pranab Mukherjee. How can he write such things in his personal capacity where sentiments of lakhs and crores of people are concerned,” advocates Hari Shankar Jain and Vishnu Shankar Jain said.

President’s counsel Ruby Gautam Singh, who was present during the hearing, said she has not received the copy of the suit and came to the court on getting information about it.

The court, after hearing the arguments, kept the matter for November 23 for consideration on the issue of maintainability of the suit and for further proceedings.

“Let me go through this plaint and then I will see if it is maintainable or not. Let me also see the relevant provision of Article 361 of the Constitution. Part submissions heard.

Copy be supplied to counsel for defendant number 1 (President). Renotify the matter for consideration and further proceedings on November 23,” the judge said.

PTI