The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee attended the farewell function at Central Hall of the Parliament today (July 23, 2017).Speaking on the occasion, the President said that for 37 years he served as a Member of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Listening to the stalwarts for hours and days in Parliament sitting in the Treasury or Opposition Benches, he felt one with the soul of this living institution. He understood the real value of debate, discussion and dissent. He realized how disruption hurts the opposition more than the government as it denies them the opportunity to raise the concerns of the people. It was unfortunate that the parliamentary time devoted to legislation has been declining. With the heightened complexity of administration, legislation must be preceded by scrutiny and adequate discussion. Scrutiny in committees is no substitute to open discussion on the floor of the House. When the Parliament fails to discharge its law-making role or enacts laws without discussion, it breaches the trust reposed in it by the people of this great country. He stated that the recent passage of Goods and Services Tax and its launch on 1st July is a shining example of co-operative federalism and speaks volumes for the maturity of Indian Parliament.
The President said that it was in July 2012 that his membership in Lok Sabha came to an end when he was declared as the 13th President of the Republic. Even though thirty-seven years of his life in Parliament came to an end on that day but he still continued to have a tenacious link with this institution, in fact he became an integral part of it, as President of Republic, as per the Constitution. In these five years, his principal responsibility was to function as the guardian of the Constitution. As he had said on oath, he strived to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution, not just in word but also in spirit. In this task, he greatly benefitted from the advice and co-operation extended by Prime Minister Modi at every step. With passion and energy, he is driving transformational changes in the country. He would carry with him fond memories of their association and his warm and courteous behaviour.The President said that as he retired from the Office of the President of the Republic, his association with the Parliament also comes to an end. He will no longer be a part of the Parliament of India. He stated he was leaving with a sense of fulfilment and happiness of having served the people of this great country through this institution- as their humble servant.