CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has imposed a cost of `20,000 on a litigant for misusing the provisions of public interest writ petition by raising a ‘divisive issue of mythological nature’.
The first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice M Sathyanarayanan dismissed the PIL from one Anbalagan, who challenged the action of the High Court Registrar-General in granting more number of holidays for Deepavali festival, falling in the middle of November 2015. The amount should be deposited with the Mediation and Conciliation Centre attached to the High Court within 15 days, the bench added.
The petitioner, who claimed to be a social worker and a journalist with Nam Dinamathi newspaper, alleged that the Registry had granted more number of holidays - November 9 and 11 to 14 - for Deepavali. Deepavali is being celebrated by North Indians, he said and pointed out that the senior most judges, including the Chief Justice of the High Court, were North Indians. Pongal is the major festival for the people of TN, the petitioner said and sought to quash a notification dated December 9 last of the Registrar-General, who announced the HC Calender for 2015.
Rejecting the plea outright, the bench said that the calender was prepared only after consultations with the Bench and members of various bar associations. In fact, advocates had opposed to the proposal of increasing the number of working days. The High Court is to work for 210 days per year. To increase the working days, the High Court had extended the working hours by 30 more minutes daily.
This adds 20 more days and works out to 230 days per year. For Pongal festival also, more number of holidays are being given, the bench pointed out.
‘’We strongly condemn the motive of filing this petition, which seeks to raise a divisive issue of mythological nature under the jurisdiction of PIL. The court must deter filing of such petitions and we consider it appropriate to dispose of the same, with an exemplary cost of ` 20,000,’’ the judges said.
India is a vast country with various cultures, languages with dialects and food habits, something the nation is proud of. All these persons of various cultures combined together to form the nation of India. It is something to be celebrated rather than to segregate the country into two pacts by raising the divisive issues, as the present petition seeks to do, the bench said. There is no North-South divide, but for endeavour of persons like the petitioner who seeks to raise divisive issues only to gain publicity and to create unrest among people.
It is necessary for the court to come down with heavy hand on such endeavours, the bench added.