Pratibha Patil

Pratibha Patil
Her Excellency
Pratibha Patil
प्रतिभा पाटील
President of India
Assumed office
25 July 2007
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Preceded by Abdul Kalam
Governor of Rajasthan
In office
8 November 2004 – 23 July 2007
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje
Preceded by Madan Lal Khurana
Succeeded by Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai
Personal details
Born 19 December 1934 (1934-12-19) (age 76)
Nadgaon, British India (now India)
Political party Indian National Congress
Spouse(s) Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat
Alma mater Mooljee Jetha College, Jalgaon
Government Law College, Mumbai
Profession Lawyer
Religion Brahma Kumari

Pratibha Devisingh Patil About this sound pronunciation (Marathi: प्रतिभा देवीसिंह पाटील) (born 19 December 1934) is the 12th President of the Republic of India and first woman to hold the office.[1] She was sworn in as President of India on 25 July 2007, succeeding Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and after defeating her rival Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.[2][3][4]

She is a member of the Indian National Congress (INC), was nominated for the presidency by the ruling United Progressive Alliance and Indian Left.


Early life

Pratibha Devisingh Patil was born in Jalgaon District, Maharashtra. She received her early education from RR Vidyalaya, Jalgaon and later completed her Master studies in Political Science and Economics at the Moolji Jaitha College, Jalgaon. She obtained the degree of Bachelor of Laws from Government Law College, Mumbai.[1] She took part in sports and won several shields at various inter-collegiate tournaments. Even as a MLA, she pursued her studies as a law student.[citation needed]


Pratibha Patil started her professional career[when?] as a practising lawyer at the Jalgaon District Court and worked on various social activities, especially, for the upliftment of poor women.[citation needed]

She was elected for the Jalgaon Assembly constituency when aged 27.[citation needed] She was elected four times consecutively for Muktainagar (formerly Edlabad), Maharashtra, as a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly between 1962 and 1985.[1] Thereafter, she served as a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha from 1985 to 1990. In 1991 she was elected as a Member of Parliament in the tenth Lok Sabha, representing the Amravati constituency and stayed in the role until 1996.[1] She has the distinction of not having lost a single election that she contested to date.[citation needed]

She was the 24th Governor of Rajasthan between 2004–2007,[1] and the first woman to hold that office.[citation needed]

Presidential Election 2007

On 14 June 2007, United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the ruling alliance of political parties in India headed by the Indian National Congress, and the Indian left nominated her as their candidate for the Presidential Election to be held in July that year.[5] She emerged as a compromise candidate after the Left parties would not agree to the nomination of former Home Minister Shivraj Patil. UPA chairwoman Sonia Gandhi proposed her: her loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family was widely perceived to be a major factor in her nomination.[6] With the possibility that she might become the first female President of India, Sonia Gandhi described her nomination as a "historic occasion".[citation needed]

Before leaving Jaipur for New Delhi, she thanked Gandhi for choosing her and said that her first job as president would be to make the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) started by UPA a success.[7] In Delhi she asserted that she would not be a rubber stamp president.[6]

She faced Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the NDA candidate,[8] in a straight contest.[citation needed] Her campaign was boosted by the decision of UNPA to abstain from voting.[citation needed]

The Leader of the Opposition, L K Advani, unsuccessfully sought the intervention of Election Commission of India to force Patil to declare her assets.[clarification needed][9]

Shiv Sena, an important ally of NDA, declared its support of Patil on the grounds that she would be the first Maharashtrian to hold the office. This decision caused problems for the BJP-Sena alliance.[10][clarification needed]


Presidential styles of
Pratibha Patil
Emblem of India.svg
Reference style Her Excellency Pratibha Patil, President of the Republic of India
Spoken style President Patil
Alternative style Madame President

She won the presidential election held on 19 July 2007 defeating her nearest rival Bhairon Singh Shekhawat by over 300,000 votes. She took office as India's first woman president on 25 July 2007.


Along with her husband, she set up Vidya Bharati Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, an educational institute which runs a chain of schools and colleges in Amravati, Jalgaon and Mumbai.[11] She also set up Shram Sadhana Trust, which runs hostels for working women in New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune; and an engineering college in Jalgaon.[11] She also founded a cooperative sugar factory known as Sant Muktabai Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana,muktainager and a cooperative bank named after herself as Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank. The bank ceased trading in February 2003 due to having its license revoked as a consequence of financial irregularities.[12]


BJP campaign

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have opposed her[why?] in its political campaigning. BJP leader Arun Shourie wrote two articles published as a booklet titled Does This Tainted Person Deserve to Become President of India?,[13] and another BJP leader, Arun Jaitley, announced[when?] the launch of a website called Know Pratibha Patil, which contains various media reports and documents concerning the alleged questionable financial dealings of both Patil and her family.[14]

While the BJP tried to build a strong moral opposition to her nomination as president in 2007, it was advised not to challenge the nomination on legal grounds.[clarification needed][15] However, the BJP's National Democratic Alliance ally the Shiv Sena supported her nomination for president on the grounds that she was from Maharashtra.

Legal challenges to candidature

A Public Interest Litigation was filed before the Supreme Court of India challenging her 2007 presidential nomination. The claim was referred to the various allegations against Patil and her family members and sought the cancellation of her nomination papers on the constitutional grounds of her being an undischarged bankrupt who had not cleared a debt to the public exchequer and others.[16][17]

The court ruled that it could not act on unsubstantiated allegations, and rejected the petition as being without merit at the admission stage.[18][19] Furthermore, it queried the intention of the petitioner and said that it was more of a "private interest litigation".[20] The court ruled:

This petition is filed under Article 32 of the Constitution. We find no ground to interfere and exercise our jurisdiction. However, this will not prevent the petitioner from approaching appropriate authorities for redressal of his grievances.[21]

The petitioner then approached the Election Commission of India seeking her disqualification. The Election Commission response was that:

The question whether a person has become insolvent and whether he/she is still an undischarged insolvent has to be decided by the competent insolvency court under the provisions of the Provincial Insolvency Act, 1920, and not by the Commission. The Commission is not the appropriate forum. No action is called for on the part of the Commission on your representation.[18]

Following this, the petitioner again approached the court, contending that the Election Commission had not applied its mind to the matter,[clarification needed] and sought quashing of the commission's order.[18][clarification needed]

In another case a Delhi-based NGO has also filed a petition[when?] before the Delhi High Court alleging that Patil being Managing Trustee of Mumbai-based Shram Sadhana Bombay Trust, which is under the control of state government, was holding the office of profit making her ineligible to contest the President's election.[22] The High Court deferred the hearing until after election.[clarification needed]


The leaders of Indian National Congress and Indian left tried to repudiate these charges.[23] They have also said that these issues have never been raised in the past while she was a deputy chairwoman of the Rajya Sabha, or during her tenure as a governor. They accused the BJP of launching a "malicious, unsubstantiated and deliberate" slanderous campaign just to damage her reputation.[24][25][26] Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defended Pratibha Patil and dismissed the charges as "mud-slinging".[27] On Monday 2 July 2007 breaking her silence Patil described the allegations leveled against her as "false, malicious and baseless".[28]

Prominent and controversial allegations against her are:

Allegations of shielding her brother on a murder charge

On 22 June 2007, Rajni Patil, a professor at a Jalgaon college, claimed that Pratibha Patil's brother G.N.Patil was the person who had murdered her husband, Jalgaon congressman Vishram G Patil. She accused Pratibha Patil of shielding her brother. She further said that she had provided details of her allegations to Sonia Gandhi and President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. Copies of her letter to the President were distributed to the press by Sudheendra Kulkarni, an aide of Leader of the Opposition L. K. Advani.[29][30]

On 13 July 2007 Rajani Patil petitioned the Bombay High Court, demanding that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigate Pratibha Patil and her brother in connection with the allegations before the presidential election. The court directed the CBI accordingly in order to remove the possibility that presidential immunity might come into play if Prabitha Patil were elected.[31][clarification needed]

The lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said that two CDs have surfaced which contain incriminating material against Patil's brother. The CDs contain footage of the elections for the district Congress presidentship in Jalgaon. Jethmalani offered to place both CDs on record, saying "These contain vital information showing the political link behind the murder."[32]

Pratibha Women Cooperative Bank

Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank was a cooperative bank set up by Patil in 1973 to empower women.[citation needed] The license for it to operate as a bank was revoked in 2003 by the Reserve Bank of India for alleged financial irregularities. Among the irregularities listed were the loans policy of the bank and loan interest waivers given, among others, to Patil's relatives.[33] Patil was one of the chairpersons of the bank and a number of her relatives were also directors.[citation needed]

She is currently[when?] one of 34 respondents in a legal case at the Bombay High Court relating to allegations of mismanagement of the bank and misappropriation of funds by its directors.[34][35]

In her defence, her supporters point out that she was not the founding president[36] of the bank, and that she held the job of the chairwoman for a little over a month.[37] They also point out that the RBI has never mentioned Patil's name in the report, and the court has not charge-sheeted her.[38] Communist leader A.B. Bardhan cast doubts on the credibility of the official employees' union of the bank, which has been highlighting the issue of mismanagement since 2002, drawing attention to the fact that it is associated with the BMS union led by the BJP.[38]

Sant Muktabai Cooperative Sugar Factory

A cooperative sugar factory – Sant Muktabai Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana – of which Pratibha was a founder member, was declared a defaulter for failing to repay a Rs 17.5 crore (Rs 175 million) bank loan.[39] Pratibha Patil had been its chairwoman and director until she became the Governor of Rajasthan.[40] The loan was taken in 1994 when Pratibha was its chairwoman, but the factory has failed to repay the full amount. The bank sealed the factory on 23 January 2007 after issuing many reminders. This was the second occasion the mill had been sealed. Earlier, it was sealed in January 2006, but was reopened after the board of directors headed by G. N. Patil – younger brother of Pratibha Patil – requested for an opportunity to improve the performance of the mill.[41]

In 2002 the chief commissioner of central excise and customs, Pune, issued notice to the factory for evading excise duty resulting from diversion of export-oriented sugar by the factory into domestic market.

Dubbing as "malign campaign" the allegations, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, defended Pratibha and noted that there was never any enquiry under Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act against her. He also pointed out that as many as 74 mills were issued notices in December 2006, and it was "unfortunate that only one particular case has been brought up in the media". Pawar said most of the mills had failed to repay the loans because of persistent drought affecting sugarcane production, leading these mills to go sick.[42]

Nevertheless in 2007, Manohar Lal Sharma, an independent advocate, filed a public interest litigation petition in the Supreme Court alleging that Mrs Pratibha Patil was an undischarged insolvent relating to the Sant Muktabai Sugar Factory and hence disqualified to remain in the office of the presidency.[43]

Party loyalty

In February 2011, Rajasthan state minister Amin Khan addressing a meeting of the district INC party was quoted by the local media[44] as saying Pratibha Patil was rewarded with the presidency because "she used to make tea and cook food at Indira Gandhi's residence" without expecting anything in return.[45] Khan later said that he was misquoted and did not mean any disrespect, and resigned from his post over the controversy.[46]

Shrama Sadhna Trust


It was alleged that as a Member of Parliament for Amravati between 1991 and 1996 Patil diverted Rs 36 lakh (Rs 3.6 million) from her MPLADS fund to a trust run by her husband Devisingh Shekhawat. This was in violation of Government rules which barred MPs from providing funds to organisation run by their relatives.[47][48][clarification needed]

Views on sterilisation

On 10 December 1975, when she was the Health Minister of Maharashtra, Patil advocated in Maharashtra Assembly that people with hereditary diseases should be compulsorily sterilised.[49][clarification needed]

Divine indication

Patil claims to have spoken to the spirit of the deceased leader Baba Lekhraj[50] at their[who?] headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.[50]

"Dadiji ke shareer mein baba aye... Maine unse baat ki" (Baba entered Devi’s body and he communicated to me through her).[51] Reporters began to report on the message she received of a "divine indication" of great responsibility coming her way.[52]

Positions held

Pratibha Patil in North-east India.
Period Position
1967–72 Deputy Minister, N.H.E.A., Scav, Public Health, Prohibition, Tourism, Housing & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Maharashtra
1972–74 Cabinet Minister, Social Welfare, Government of Maharashtra
1974–75 Cabinet Minister, Public Health & Social Welfare, Government of Maharashtra
1975–76 Cabinet Minister, Prohibition, Rehabilitation and Cultural Affairs, Government of Maharashtra
1977–78 Cabinet Minister, Education, Government of Maharashtra
July 1979 to February 1980 Leader of Opposition, CDP (I), Maharashtra Legislative Assembly
1982–85 Cabinet Minister, Urban Development and Housing, Government of Maharashtra
1983–85 Cabinet Minister, Civil Supplies and Social Welfare, Government of Maharashtra
18 November 1986 to 5 November 1988 Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha
1986–88 Chairperson, Committee of Privileges, Rajya Sabha; Member, Business Advisory Committee, Rajya Sabha
1991–96 Chairperson, House Committee, Lok Sabha
8 November 2004 – June 2007 Governor of Rajasthan
25 July 2007 to date President of India

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Pratibha Patil. Encyclpaedia Britannica on-line
  2. ^ Bibhudatta Pradhan (2007-07-19). "Patil Poised to Become India's First Female President". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  3. ^ Anita Joshua (2007-07-20). "High turnout in Presidential poll". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  4. ^ "Voting for Presidential poll ends". NDTV. 2007-07-19. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  5. ^ NDTV Correspondent (14 June 2007). "Prez polls: Sonia announces Pratibha Patil's name". NDTV. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  6. ^ a b "I will not be a rubber stamp President". PTI. Daily News & Analysis. 16 June 2007. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  7. ^ "I'm grateful to Sonia: Pratibha Patil". IBN. 20 June 2007. 
  8. ^ "NDA to Launch a Letter Campaign". TNN. The Times of India. 3 July 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Advani writes to EC, wants Pratibha to declare assets". The Hindu. PTI (Chennai). 2 July 2007. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  10. ^ Menon, Meena (26 June 2007). "Shiv Sena backs Pratibha Patil". The Hindu (Chennai). Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  11. ^ a b Pratibha Patil's Resume. The Times of India. 19 July 2007.
  12. ^ Appendix Table IV.3: Urban Co-operative Banks Under Liquidation Appendix Table IV.3: Urban Co-operative Banks Under Liquidation.
  13. ^ Jerath, Arati R (2007-07-04). "Pratibha Patil fails to impress Arun Shourie". DNA. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  14. ^ Benedict, Kay and Sanjay Singh (2007-07-10). "War against Patil becomes public". DNA. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  15. ^ Singh, Sanjay (2007-07-02). "NDA's legal ploy fails, aims moral fire at Pratibha". DNA. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  16. ^ "SC to hear petition on Pratibha's candidature". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2 July 2007. 
  17. ^ Patil Faces Legal Hurdles Before Presidential Election (NIGHT LEAD). News Post India. Retrieved on 2011-11-06.
  18. ^ a b c Another PIL filed against Pratibha. The Hindu. 13 July 2007
  19. ^ SC rejects anti-Pratibha PIL; UPA-Left now raring to go. The Financial Express. 4 July 2007
  20. ^ Supreme Court dismisses PIL against Pratibha Patil. Retrieved on 2011-11-06.
  21. ^ SC dismisses petition against Pratibha Patil. Expressindia. 3 Jul 2007
  22. ^ Petitions before SC & HC against Pratibha Patil. The Hindu
  23. ^ The Runaway Presidential Campaign The Hindu – July 14, 2007
  24. ^ RSS, BJP desperate: CPI (M) The Hindu – 25 June 2007
  25. ^ NCP blasts BJP for anti-Pratibha campaign New Kerala. Kune 28, 2007
  26. ^ UPA criticises BJP-RSS campaign against Pratibha. Times of India. 28 June 2007
  27. ^ Thakur, Pradeep; Mahapatra, Dhananjay (28 June 2007). "Muck refuses to move from Pratibha path". The Times Of India. 
  28. ^ "Patil: Charges false, baseless". The Times Of India. 2 July 2007. 
  29. ^ Congman's wife drags Pratibha name into allegations, NDA distances itself. (2007-06-23). Retrieved on 2011-11-06.
  30. ^ Woman claims husband killed by Pratibha Patil's brother. Times of India. 22 June 2007
  31. ^ The Hindustan Times. The Hindustan Times (2007-07-13). Retrieved on 2011-11-06.
  32. ^ "Jalgaon case: HC slams CBI for tardiness". The Times of India. TNN. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  33. ^ Arun Shourie. Lifting the veil over Pratibha Patil
  34. ^ Pratibha Patil in the line of fire NDTV – 25 June 2007
  35. ^ Pratibha bank waived loans for kin before RBI shut it down. (2007-06-25). Retrieved on 2011-11-06.
  36. ^ Congress rebuts BJP charges on Pratibha Patil DailyIndia – June 29, 2007
  37. ^ Should Pratibha Patil be President?. Hindustan Times. 7 July 2007
  38. ^ a b CNN – IBN Interview CNN – IBN – July 01, 2007
  39. ^ Return Rs 17-cr loan, bank tells Pratibha's family CNN-IBN – 22 June 2007
  40. ^ Pawar defends Pratibha. June 24, 2007
  41. ^ UPA nominee's co-op firm loan defaulter, gets notice The Pioneer – 23 June 2007
  42. ^ Allegations against Pratibha Patil unfortunate: UPA – The Hindu – June 23, 2007
  43. ^ V. Sundaram Voting for an impeachable, insolvent President?. News Today. 3 July 2007
  44. ^ PTI (February 10, 2011). "Gehlot asks Minister to quit". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  45. ^ Singh, Bhanu Pratap (9 February 2011). "'President Patil cooked food and washed dishes for Indira Gandhi'". The Times Of India. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  46. ^ HT Correspondent (10 February 2011). "Minister sacked for Prez slur". The Hindustan Times. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  47. ^ For family again: Patil’s MP funds for sports complex on land leased to husband society. (2007-07-06). Retrieved on 2011-11-06.
  48. ^ DNA – Mumbai – Now, a land grab haunts Patil – Daily News & Analysis. (2007-07-04). Retrieved on 2011-11-06.
  49. ^ Should Pratibha Patil be President?. (2007-07-07). Retrieved on 2011-11-06.
  50. ^ a b IBN Live, Race for Raisina: Shekhawat vs. Patil – Pratibha Patil speaks to a ghost (video)
  51. ^ Patil kicks up another row. KhaleejTimes. 28 June 2007
  52. ^ Pratibha believes in spirits?. Times of India. 27 June 2007
Lok Sabha
Preceded by
Sudam Deshmukh
Member for Amravati
Succeeded by
Anant Gudhe
Political offices
Preceded by
Madan Lal Khurana
Governor of Rajasthan
Succeeded by
Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai
Preceded by
Abdul Kalam
President of India

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