Lakshmi Surrenders Miss India-World Title

Lakshmi Pandit, who bagged the Pond's Femina Miss India-Miss World 2004 crown, surrendered her title following a controversy about her marital status.

In an affidavit, handed over to the organizers of the contest, she submitted: "I say that I am unmarried till date. I have never been through any ceremony either valid or invalid, whether civil, religious or tribal--which is reckoned as a marriage ceremony in any part if the world. And I say that I am legally entitled to use the prefix Miss before my name."

Laxmi in her affidavit further admitted that she had "represented" to the licensor of her rented premises and the sub-registrar to be a married lady "as it was the only basis on which I could get the said premises on leave and license. I have, however, realised that such incorrect representation made by me has resulted in me putting in a situation affecting my credibility and tarnishing my image," the affidavit said.

Pandit stated in her affidavit that, "Being declared a winner of Ponds Femina Miss India (World) 2004, I am expected to maintain the decorum of being a role model for the youth of India. In view of my incorrect statement in the said agreement... I do not desire to represent India at the Miss World Pageant.

"I am aware that at such an international event, importance is given to the image of the contestant. I do not rule out the possibility that the panel of judges at the Miss World Pageant could consider my incorrect statement to be a criterion to disqualify me, thereby affecting the chances of India at the contest."

According to A P Parigi, Managing Director, Times Infotainment India Media Ltd, the affidavit has been accepted and the committee has accepted her voluntary act of relinquishing the crown. “All rights over the said contestant and contractual obligations ended following her decision to relinquish the crown", he said.

Meanwhile, Pandit in a statement to the press, said that her dreams had crashed and the media scrutiny had taken its toll on her and her family. "The trauma and emotional upheaval" had prevented her from holding to the crown.

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