Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed at the admission stage a public interest petition challenging the nomination to the Rajya Sabha of two journalists, Shobhana Bhartia, Editorial Director and Vice-Chairperson of Hindustan Times Media Ltd, and Chandan Mitra, Editor of the Pioneer.

A Bench consisting of Justices Ruma Pal and A. K. Mathur said the scope of social service was wide enough to cover the two respondents, who were eminent journalists and writers.

Prashant Bhushan, counsel for the petitioner, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, said both were affiliated to a particular political party. People having political affiliation could only contest elections and could not be nominated to the Rajya Sabha. The petitioner said the nominations were violative of Article 80 (3) of the Constitution, according to which nomination could be made only for four disciplines literature, art, science and social service. Mr. Chandan Mitra as journalist "does not fall within the four disciplines." Ms. Bhartia "is a media baron owning Hindustan Times and is not even a journalist."

The petitioner said their nomination out of political considerations was mala fide, arbitrary and also violative of Article 14 (equality before law).