Supreme Court declines plea seeking inauguration of new Parliament Building by President
The Supreme Court on Friday showed its disinclination towards hearing a Public Interest Litigation, which sought direction to the Lok Sabha Secretariat that the inauguration of the new Parliament Building should be done by the President of India and not the Prime Minister of India.
The Vacation Bench of Justice J.K. Maheshwari and Justice P.S. Narasimha refused to entertain the PIL filed by Advocate CR Jaya Sukin under Article 32, after which the petitioner-in-person withdrew the matter.
The Apex Court asked her interest in the plea. The petitioner-in-person replied that the head of the executive was the President. The top court of the country then refused to entertain it under Article 32.
Advocate Sukin referred to Article 79 of the Constitution, which said that the Parliament comprised the President and the two Houses. She said since the President was the head of the Parliament, he/she should open the building, adding that only an Executive head should inaugurate the building.
She further cited Article 87, which said that the Parliament session commenced with the Special Address by the President.
Wondering how this provision was related to the inauguration of the new building and unconvinced by the petitioner’s arguments, the Bench proceeded to dismiss the petition. However, the petitioner at this stage sought permission to withdraw the matter.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested the Supreme Court not to allow the petitioner to withdraw the plea, as she would file the same petition in the High Court. SG Mehta suggested the Court to conclusively say that these matters were not justiciable.
However, the petitioner said that she had no plans to approach the High Court and that she was withdrawing so that the dismissal will not become a ‘certificate’ to the Executive.
The Bench recorded in the order that the petitioner, after arguing for sometime, chose to withdraw the petition as the Court was not inclined to entertain the matter.
Advocate Sukin had filed the plea in the top court of the country on Thursday, seeking any ‘direction, observation or suggestion’ to the Lok Sabha Secretariat that the inauguration should be done by the President.
The plea mentioned a statement issued by the Lok Sabha Secretary General on May 18, which said the new Parliament building will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28.
The petitioner-in-person said that the Lok Sabha Secretariat violated the Constitution by not inviting the President for the event.
She referred to Article 79 of the Constitution, which said that the Parliament consisted of the President and the two Houses. She pointed out that the President, the first citizen of the nation, had the power to summon and prorogue the Parliament sessions.
The lawyer said it was the President who appointed the Prime Minister and other Ministers and all executive actions were taken in his name.
She argued that not inviting the President for the ceremony was a humiliation and a violation of the Constitution.
The petitioner-in-person alleged that the statement of the Lok Sabha Secretariat had been issued in an arbitrary manner, without proper application of mind.
As per Advocate Sukin, the President of India enjoyed certain powers and performed a variety of ceremonial functions. The powers of the President included the Executive, Legislative, Judiciary, emergency and military powers, she added.
The petition mentioned the 19 opposition parties, which had decided to boycott the inauguration ceremony on the grounds that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new Parliament building by himself was completely ‘sidelining’ President Droupadi Murmu.
As per a statement issued by the parties, this was not only a ‘grave insult,’ but a direct assault on the democracy of the country, which demanded a ‘commensurate’ response.
Despite the fact that the Parliament cannot function without the President, the Prime Minister has decided to inaugurate the new Parliament building without her. This undignified act has insulted the high office of the President and has violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution, it noted.
The statement added that the act undermined the spirit of inclusion, which saw the nation celebrate its first woman adivasi President.
The parties, which have decided to boycott the inauguration included the Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Aam Aadmi Party, Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal (United), Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena (Udhav Thackeray), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India, Indian Union Muslim League, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, National Conference, Kerala Congress (Mani), Revolutionary Socialist Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi.