The Supreme Court on May 26 refused to entertain a petition challenging the inauguration of the new Parliament building on May 28 by the Prime Minister, and not the President of India.
A Vacation Bench of Justices J.K. Maheshwari and P.S. Narasimha said it was not “inclined” to hear the petition filed by advocate C.R. Jaya Sukin, the petitioner in person.
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The petition was urgently listed before the Vacation Bench. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was appearing for the Union.
When Mr. Sukin urged the Court to permit him to withdraw the petition, Mr. Mehta said the lawyer may then go and file it before another Court and keep the issue alive. Mr. Mehta said the Supreme Court should record a dismissal of the petition in the order to make it conclusive.
Mr. Sukin’s petition was filed on Thursday amidst a heated and very public debate between the government and the Opposition over the inauguration of the new Parliament building. The Opposition accused the government of sidelining the President, thus heaping “insult” on the first citizen and the head of the state. It is reported that 19 Opposition parties have decided to boycott the inauguration ceremony. The government has recounted instances in the past when the Prime Minister had inaugurated a Parliament annexe.
“So, what is your interest in filing this petition?” Justice Narasimha asked Mr. Sukin during the hearing on May 26. “She is my President. I am a citizen,” Mr. Sukin responded.
The lawyer referred to Article 79 of the Constitution which stated that there “shall be a Parliament for the Union, which will consist of the President and two Houses to be called respectively the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha)“.
“What is the connection between Article 79 and the inauguration function?” Justice Maheshwari asked.
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“The President is the head of the Parliament. The Prime Minister is only the head of the executive government. It is for the President to inaugurate…” Mr. Sukin said.
But the Court said it could not intervene in the issue on the basis of a petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution.