Why Modi is wrong in not inviting President; Why KCR was right in keeping Governor away?

It’s just ridiculous and foolish to draw a parallel between Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the Parliament complex and KCR inaugurating the Telangana State Secretariat

Why Modi is wrong in not inviting President; Why KCR was right in keeping Governor away?

HYDERABAD: Whether K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) will decide to have his party attend or boycott the inaugural of the Central Vista – the new Parliament complex – will be a political decision. It’s just a matter of time before he makes a decision. He is absolutely free and independent to take any decision in tune with the BRS’s political ideology. Let the decision go either way, there isn’t anything wrong in whatsoever it could be.

It’s just ridiculous and foolish to draw a parallel between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the Parliament complex and KCR inaugurating the Dr B R Ambedkar Telangana State Secretariat.

The Opposition parties are insisting that the PM should not inaugurate the new facility and that President of India Draupadi Murmu should be invited to inaugurate it. It’s just and reasonable.

If KCR has not invited Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan for the inauguration of the Dr B R Ambedkar Telangana Secretariat, he was right too. And, there is a constitutional justification for the same.

The Indian Parliament, by definition given by the Constitution of India, is that “Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India. The Indian Parliament comprises the President and the two Houses – Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and Lok Sabha (House of the People). The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or dissolve the Lok Sabha.”

This makes it amply clear that the President is essentially an integral part of the Parliament, apart from the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

It’s not the Prime Minister who figures on the top of the protocol in the Parliament. It’s the President followed by the Vice-President, who is also Constitutionally the Chairman of the Council of States (the Rajya Sabha), and the Speaker of the lower House (Lok Sabha) who figure in the pecking order in the first three positions. Then comes the Prime Minister in his capacity as the Leader of the House in either House.

It’s Lok Sabha in the current situation that has Narendra Modi while it was the leader of the House in Rajya Sabha in the case of Dr Manmohan Singh who headed the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government.

Well, why is the demand to request the President to inaugurate is justified?

Since the President is an integral part of the Parliament and the Presidential assent is mandatory for any Bills passed by both Houses of the Parliament to become laws and because the President addresses the joint sessions of the Parliament, it’s essential that the President is honoured.

Even though the Union Cabinet aids and advises the President, it’s the President who matters the most in Parliament. That clears the confusion over why the demand of the Opposition parties is just and reasonable.

Why KCR is right in not inviting the Governor to inaugurate the Secretariat?

It’s not because of the strained political relations between Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and Chief Minister KCR that the latter had kept her away from the inauguration of the magnificent new Secretariat.

The Governor in any state never visits the Secretariat even casually. It’s not part of the gubernatorial protocol.

The Secretariat is politically headed by the Chief Minister and the chief executive officer of the secretariat is the Chief Secretary of the state concerned. The Chief Secretary in the capacity of the Chairman of Board of Revenue is the boss of all officials – be it those from All India Services or the state services – and supervises the functioning of all government departments either working from the Secretariat or operating from different offices outside that. The elected representatives are not the administrative supervisors of the bureaucracy and official machinery. The elected representatives are the policy makers and the bureaucracy is answerable to the elected representatives holding the constitutional offices of authority.

The Government Orders – usually called the GOs – are made in accordance with the Secretariat business rules which automatically go “by order and in the name of the Governor” (of Telangana).

The GOs are deemed to have been approved by the Governor unlike the Bills enacted by the bicameral legislature. The Bills essentially need the assent of the Governor to become Acts.

Thus, the Governor – on the invite of the Government – would visit the legislature building only on special occasions, as mandated by the Constitution.

But, the Governor has no role in the functioning of the Secretariat. Also, the Governor doesn’t have a seat in the Secretariat as per rules.

Therefore, KCR was right in keeping the Governor away from the inauguration of Telangana secretariat. That he would have invited the President of India or the Prime Minister to inaugurate if the relations were cordial is a matter of respect stemming from the fact that the two are heads of the nation. When the new Assembly building was inaugurated in 1986 in undivided Andhra Pradesh, then Chief Minister N T Rama Rao, though known for being a bitter critic of the Congress party, had the Assembly inaugurated by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The President is elected by the members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and MLAs of State Assemblies while the Governor is nominated and appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Union Council of Ministers. That makes the Presidential position unique, hence the justification of the demand to have the parliament inaugurated by the President.

Thus, going by the protocols and business rules as prescribed in the Constitution, KCR was right in not inviting the Governor for the Secretariat opening. And, Narendra Modi is wrong in not inviting the President to do the honours at Central Vista.

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