CHENNAI : A penalty of `10,000 was imposed on a scholar with PhD for seeking a direction to the Centre to remove the prefix ‘Mahatma’ before the name of the Father of the Nation in Indian currency.
The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sunder imposed the cost while dismissing in limine a PIL petition from S Muruganantham of Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram district, on Monday. The amount should be deposited with the Registrar-General of the Madras High Court within a fortnight, the bench added.
The petitioner, a research scholar in the faculty of engineering and technology attached to Jadavpur University in Kolkata, who also claimed he was a human rights activist, raised the constitutional validity of the prefix Mahatma to M K Gandhi.According to the petitioner, the currency is printed and circulated by the Reserve Bank of India. He wondered how the government of India allowed the prefix ‘Mahatma’, as it was violative of Articles 14 and 18 of the Constitution.
It also violated the principle of equality, which is the basic structure of the Constitution, the petitioner said and prayed for a direction to end the use of the title ‘Mahatma’ in the currency notes and coins and postal stamps of India.The bench, however, came down on him like a ton of bricks. No public interest is involved; such PILs only clog the business of the court and consume the valuable time, the Bench quipped and imposed the cost.