New Delhi [India], January 27 (ANI): A petitioner on Friday urged the Supreme Court to direct the Centre to take substantive steps in order to ensure that citizens can have their voices heard in Parliament without facing undue barriers and difficulties.
The plea was heard by a bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna, which listed the matter after two weeks and asked the petitioner to serve the copy to counsel the Centre.
The petition was filed by Karan Garg, a Punjab resident who has done B Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, USA. The petitioner was represented by advocates Rohan J Alva and Aby P Varghese. The petition was filed by Joby P Varghese, Advocate on Record.
The petitioner prayed to take substantive steps in order to ensure that citizens can have their voices heard in Parliament without facing undue barriers and difficulties. The petitioner said that he has filed the petition seeking the enforcement of the fundamental right to free speech and expression contained in Article 19(1)(a) as well as the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution.
The petitioner said that as an ordinary citizen of India, he feels disempowered when it comes to participation in the democratic process.
"After the people cast their votes and elect their representatives to Parliament as well as to the state legislatures, there is no scope for any further participation. There is the complete absence of any formal mechanism by which citizens can engage with the law-makers and take steps in order to ensure that issues which are vitally important are debated in Parliament," the petitioner said.
The petitioner said his petition presents a detailed and nuanced framework under which citizens can prepare petitions, seek popular support for it and if a citizen petition crosses a prescribed threshold then the citizen petition has to mandatorily be taken up for discussion and debate in Parliament.
"Indeed, a system by which citizens can directly petition Parliament is already in place in the United Kingdom and it has been working well for many years. Indeed, several citizen petitions have been filed many of which have actually been taken up for discussion in the House of Commons. A system by which citizens directly petition the Parliament has been found to be perfectly consistent in the Westminster model. There is as such no difficulty in implementing the same system in India," read the petition.
"To issue an appropriate writ, order, direction declaring that it is the fundamental right of citizens under Article 14, Article 19(1)(a), and Article 21 to directly petition the Parliament of India in order seek the initiation of a debate, discussion and deliberation on the issues highlighted by the citizens in their petitions," the petition urged.
"To issue an appropriate writ, order, direction to the Respondents to expeditiously take steps to create an appropriate system and/or well-reasoned and reasonable rules and regulations which empower citizens to petition the Parliament of India and seek the initiation of a debate, discussion and deliberation on the issues and concerns highlighted by the citizens in their petitions," the petitioner prayed. (ANI)