Indian Supreme Court Dismisses Plea for Presidential Inauguration of New Parliament Building

The Supreme Court of India declined to consider a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) proposing that the President of India, rather than the Prime Minister, should preside over the inauguration of the new Parliament building.

Justices JK Maheshwari and PS Narasimha, constituting a vacation bench, indicated their disinclination to entertain the PIL, which had been filed by Advocate CR Jaya Sukin. Subsequently, the petitioner chose to withdraw the plea.

During the hearing, the Justices asked Sukin about his vested interest in the matter. In response, Sukin indicated his belief that as the head of the executive, the President should have the honor of inaugurating the new Parliament building.

The Justices, however, expressed their unwillingness to entertain such petitions under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, cautioning the petitioner to be thankful that they were not imposing costs.

The petitioner’s argument rested on Article 79 of the Indian Constitution, which states that the Parliament comprises the President and the two houses. He emphasized that, as the head of the Parliament, the President should have the right to inaugurate the building. He further cited Article 87, which provides that the Parliament session begins with a Special Address by the President, prompting the bench to question the relevance of these articles to the inauguration.

The Justices were unpersuaded by the petitioner’s arguments and were moving toward dismissing the petition when the petitioner requested permission to withdraw the matter.

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta suggested that the petitioner should be denied the opportunity to withdraw, arguing that he might submit the same petition to the High Court and that the Court should rule decisively that such matters are not justiciable.

However, Sukin reassured the court that he had no plans to approach the High Court, clarifying that his withdrawal aimed to prevent a dismissal from being used as a “certificate to the executive”. The Justices duly recorded Sukin’s decision to withdraw following his arguments.


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