The debate over the inauguration of the new Parliament building by the Prime Minister reached the Supreme Court on Thursday, as a petition was filed in the Apex Court seeking direction that the inauguration should be done by the President of India.
Filed by Advocate C.R. Jaya Sukin, the plea urged the top court of the country to pass 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.