The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation seeking a direction that the inauguration of the new Parliament building should be done by the President of India and not the Prime Minister of India.
After a vacation bench comprising Justices JK Maheshwari and PS Narasimha expressed disinclination to entertain the PIL filed by Advocate CR Jaya Sukin, the petitioner withdrew the matter.
“What is your interest?”, the bench asked.
“The head of the executive is the President… President is my president”, the petitioner said.
“We don’t understand why you come with such petitions…we’re not interested in entertaining it under Article 32”, Justice Narasimha said.
The petitioner referred to Article 79 of the Constitution of India, which says that the Parliament comprises President and the two houses.
“How is Article 79 related to the inauguration?”, Justice Maheshwari asked.
“President is the head of the parliament, he should open the building. Executive head is the only head who should open….”, the petitioner, appearing as party-in-person, submitted. The petitioner also cited Article 87, which says that the Parliament session commences with the Special Address by the President. The bench wondered how this provision is related to inauguration of the new building.
Unconvinced by the petitioner’s arguments, the bench was proceeding to dismiss the petition. At this stage, the petitioner sought permission to withdraw the matter.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta said that the petitioner should not be allowed to withdraw the petition, as he will file the same petition in the High Court. The SG said that the Court should conclusively say that these matters are not justiciable.
However, the petitioner said that he has no plans to approach the High Court and that he 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.
The petition filed by Advocate CR Jaya Sukin as party-in-person seeks any “direction, observation or suggestion” to the Lok Sabha Secretariat that the inauguration should be done by the President. The petitioner cites a statement issued by the Lok Sabha Secretary General on May 18 as per which the new Parliament building will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28. He says that the Lok Sabha Secretariat violated the Constitution by not inviting the President for the inauguration.
The petitioner refers to Article 79 of the Constitution which says that Parliament consists of the President and the two houses. It is pointed out that the President, the first citizen of the nation, has the power to summon and prorogue the Parliament sessions. It is the President who appoints the Prime Minister and other Ministers and all executive actions are taken in the name of the President. It is argued that the not inviting the President for the ceremony is a humiliation and a violation of the Constitution.
The petitioner argues that the statement of the Lok Sabha Secretariat has been issued in an arbitrary manner, without proper application of mind.
“President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu is not being invited to the inauguration of the new Parliament Building. Indian President enjoys certain powers and performs a variety of ceremonial functions. The powers of the President include Executive, Legislative, Judiciary, emergency, and military powers…”, the petition says.
19 opposition parties have decided to boycott the inauguration ceremony saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new Parliament building by himself, “completely sidelining President Droupadi Murmu”, was not only “a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy, which demands a commensurate response”.
“In short, the Parliament cannot function without the President. Yet, the Prime Minister has decided to inaugurate the new Parliament building without her. This undignified act insults the high office of the President, and violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution. It undermines the spirit of inclusion which saw the nation celebrate its first woman adivasi President,” the statement issued by the parties stated.
The signatories include 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.