HC Bench while pointing out that it was the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore who first described Gandhiji as Mahatma, Bench added that,”Such a description could not be considered to be a title in strict sense”.
A research scholar, who had approached Madras HC seeking a direction to Central Govt. to refrain from using word ‘Mahatma’ as a prefix to Gandhi’s name in the currency notes, was slapped with a cost of Rs 10,000 for wasting the judicial time.
While dismissing the PIL moved by S Muruganantham, who is a research scholar at the Jadavpur University in Kolkata, Madras HC Bench comprising of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar stated that this type of PIL’s only clogged business of Court and consumed the valuable time of judiciary.
Questing Constitutional validity of prefixing title ‘Mahatma’ before name of M K Gandhi in the Indian currency notes, Petitioner contended that act of Government was in compete violation of the Article 14 and 18 of the Constitution of India.
High Court further added that,“There is no whisper in petitioner’s affidavit as to how the equality under the Article 14 has been violated by printing photograph of Gandhiji describing him as Mahatma.
Bench stated that,“It is not a title as envisaged in Article 18… In any case, it is not known as to how the Public Interest would be affected by describing Gandhiji as the Mahatma”.
Court said that PIL petitions were meant for the Court’s interference when rights of people at large were affected due to action or inaction of State and not for interference in the policy decisions.
Thus the HC Bench concluded that,“There is no infringement of the Public Interest by describing Gandhiji as Mahatma. It is reiterated that State has not conferred any title… We not only dismiss this petition but also impose costs of Rs. 10,000 on Petitioner to be paid to Registrar General for wasting time of this court”.