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NJAC , RTE, could make it to Rashtrapati Bhawan museum to celebrate work done by Presidents of India

As of now, 14 constitutional amendments are displayed in the President's House museum. Officials said there have been deliberations on the likely additions, but the intent is to be "non-partisan" in the selection of what goes in the final display.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 05, 2019, 08.29 AM IST
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The museum will also have documents and artefacts from Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s presidency.
NEW DELHI: The museum at the Rashtrapati Bhawan to present the Presidents of the country as "defenders of the constitution" will soon be expanded to showcase the most important constitutional amendments that changed the country, ET has learnt.

The museum, in the coming days, will also have additional galleries showing how important issues were dealt with by different Presidents, those in know of the matter said. While different proposals were being discussed, nothing has been finalised yet, they said.

The museum will also have documents and artefacts from Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s presidency when India faced two wars -- against China in 1962 and Pakistan in 1965. The role of former President VV Giri during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war will also be shown, they said.

As of now, 14 constitutional amendments are displayed in the President's House museum. Officials said there have been deliberations on the likely additions, but the intent is to be "non-partisan" in the selection of what goes in the final display.

The 99th amendment provided for the National Judicial Commission to change and broad-base method of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts, that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2015, could figure in the display. Also, a likely addition is the deliberations around the Office of Profit issue that has invariably come to the Presidents.

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam had initially returned the 2006 Office of Profit Bill, citing the large number of inclusion of many offices in the exempted list and also because it was done without defining the expression ‘office of profit’. He had to subsequently sign the Bill after it was passed without any amendment, but had later said that signing this Bill was the “toughest decision” of his presidency.

Last month, President Ram Nath Kovind rejected a petition demanding disqualification of 11 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit by being co-chairpersons in district disaster management authorities. "We are thinking of having a simple explainer of sorts on this particular issue," an official said.

The existing display at the museum includes constitutional amendments signed by Presidents, pertaining to privy purses, sums of rulers and rights and privileges of rulers of former Indian states, anti-defection law in 1985 to provide for disqualification of legislators, vacation of seats and splits and mergers, reservation brought in 1995 in promotion in services under the state for SCs and STs.

Apart from amendments to put a ceiling on the number of ministers, states' re-organisation on linguistic lines, Mandal Commission, adult franchise in 1989, the 73rd amendment strengthening Panchayati Raj system in India ensuring regular elections in local bodies, and reservation of seats for women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in them will be presented.

The 44th amendment that restored right to life and personal liberty that stood suspended during emergency, and the 43rd amendment that restored the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and high courts to review the constitutional validity of laws, are part of the existing display.

The museum, inaugurated in 2016 already has artefacts, multi-screen displays and virtual reality projects showing the planning and construction of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, lives of the British Viceroys who occupied the building till 1947, transfer of power, formation of the Republic, life in Rashtrapati Bhavan, history of Lutyens Delhi and Raisina Hills and other aspects. So far, the President's House just wrapped up an exhibition of 11 painters who were hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, and whose works will be part of its arts collection.

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