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”.
A bench of Justices J K Maheshwari and P S Narasimha told petitioner in-person advocate Jaya Sukin that the court understands why and how this petition was filed and it is not inclined to entertain this petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. Sukin said under Article 79, the President is the executive head of the country and she should have been invited. He, however, said if the court does not wish to entertain the petition, he be allowed to withdraw it.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said if the petition is allowed to be withdrawn, then it will be filed in the High Court. The bench then dismissed the petition as withdrawn. The petition said 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 was filed amid a controversy over the scheduled inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28.
Twenty 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.
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.