New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday quashed a plea seeking a direction to the Lok Sabha secretariat for inauguration of the new Parliament building by President Droupadi Murmu, who is the “first citizen of India and the head of the institution”. The petition says the respondents–the Lok Sabha secretariat and the Union of India–are “humiliating” the president by not inviting her for the inauguration. The petition by an apex court lawyer comes amid a massive controversy over the scheduled inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28. Some 20 opposition parties have decided to boycott the ceremony to protest the “sidelining” of the President.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, 19 political parties said, “When the soul of democracy has been sucked out of Parliament, we find no value in a new building.” The BJP-led NDA shot back, condemning the “contemptuous” decision. “This act is not merely disrespectful; it is a blatant affront to the democratic ethos and constitutional values of our great nation,” parties belonging to the ruling NDA said in a statement on Wednesday.
The PIL filed by advocate Jaya Sukin contended the statement issued by the Lok Sabha secretariat on May 18 and invite issued by Secretary General, Lok Sabha about the inauguration of the new Parliament building are violative of the Constitution.
“The President is the first citizen of India and head of the institution of Parliament,” it noted and sought a direction from the Supreme Court to facilitate the inauguration by Murmu. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had recently met the prime minister and invited him to inaugurate the new building. Modi had also laid the foundation stone for the building in 2020 and most opposition parties had stayed away from the event even then.
“According to the Constitution, Parliament consists of the President of India and the two Houses of the apex legislature, the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha,” the plea noted. “That Article 79 of the Constitution states that there shall be a Parliament for the Union which shall consist of the President and the two Houses–Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of People (Lok Sabha). But the Respondents are not following Indian Constitution,” the PIL said.
Referring to Article 79 of the Constitution, it said, the President is an integral part of Parliamentary form of democracy and that the apex court’s interference is required to save “democracy of this nation”.
“Further Article 87 says that at the beginning of every Parliamentary session, President shall address both Houses and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons. But the respondents (Lok Sabha secretariat and Union of India) are trying to ‘humiliate’ the President. The President of India Droupadi Murmu is not being invited to the inauguration of the new Parliament building,” the PIL said.