New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a PIL seeking a direction to the Lok Sabha Secretariat for inauguration of the new Parliament building by President Droupadi Murmu, saying it is not the court's function to look into it.
A vacation bench of justices JK Maheshwari and PS Narasimha told petitioner in-person advocate Jaya Sukin that the court understands why and how the petition was filed and that it is not inclined to entertain the petition under Article 32 of the Constitution.
Article 32 gives individuals the right to approach the top court when they feel they have been deprived of their fundamental rights.
"What is your interest in filing this petition? We understand why you have come with such petitions. Sorry, we are not interested in entertaining this petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. Be grateful, we are not imposing costs," the court told Sukin.
"It is not a function of the court to look into this," Justice Narasimha said.
Sukin said under Article 79, the president is the executive head of the country and she should have been invited.
"The President is the first citizen of India and head of the institution of Parliament," the petition noted and sought a direction from the Supreme Court to facilitate the inauguration by Murmu.
"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, while pitching for the inauguration of the new building by the President instead of the Prime Minister.
The bench told him the court understands Article 79 but how is it connected to inauguration of the building.
Sukin then 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Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said if the petition is allowed to be withdrawn, it will be filed in the high court.
The bench then ordered, "After hearing the petitioner-in-person for some time, we were not inclined to accept his submissions. Facing the said difficulty, the petitioner has sought leave to withdraw this Writ Petition. In view of above, the writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India filed by the petitioner stands dismissed as withdrawn." The petition that came amid an escalating confrontation between the BJP-led Centre and some 20 opposition parties over who should inaugurate the new Parliament building, said the respondents - the Lok Sabha Secretariat and the Union of India - are "humiliating" the president by not inviting her for the inauguration.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the building 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 had said, "When the soul of democracy has been sucked out of Parliament, we find no value in a new building." The BJP-led NDA had shot back and denounced the "contemptuous" opposition 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.
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