Tipu Jayanti: No stay on govt.’s decision, says HC

However, court directs govt. to reconsider it in two months

Observing that the courts will have to go slow in interfering with policy decisions of the State, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday declined to stay the BJP government’s decision to cancel celebration of Tipu Jayanti as a State event.

However, the court directed the government to reconsider within two months the July 30, 2019 decision on the matter and take an appropriate decision afresh.

The court pointed out that the decision to not celebrate Tipu Jayanti as a State event on Novemeber 10 every year was taken without examining the orders passed by the government in 2015 and 2016, giving elaborate reasons for celebrating the event by spending funds from the State exchequer. The earlier orders were not placed before the government while deciding to withdraw the 2015 .

As the government reiterated its stand that there is no ban on the celebration by any person as a private event, the Bench directed the government to take precautions to ensure such celebrations are held peacefully and in a harmonious manner.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S.R. Krishna Kumar passed the interim order on a PIL petition by Bilal Ali Shah, a resident of Lucknow, who claims to be Tipu Sultan’s descendant, and two organisations, Tipu Sultan United Front and Tipu Rashtreeya Seva Sangha, Bengaluru. Though the government claimed that it need not assign any reason for changing the policy and the courts cannot interfere in policy decisions, the Bench said the courts can interfere in certain instances, particularly when policies are arbitrary, etc.

In the present case, the court said the government in its 2015 and 2016 orders had stated that it had decided to celebrate Tipu Jayanti on the lines of many such birth anniversaries of various personalities to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities as per Article 51A of the Constitution, and to safeguard secular principles.

However, the July 30 order for cancelling the celebrations as a State event was based on a representation given by a member of the Legislative Assembly from Kodagu district, who had pointed to law and order problems caused during celebration of Tipu Jayanti only in Kodagu district in the past.

While observing that the change in policies should be made fairly not arbitrarily though the reasons need not be recorded, the Bench gave two months to the government to take an appropriate decision afresh after considering materials and observations made by the court.

The Bench declined to accept the contention of the petitioner that the July 30 order was illegal as there was no Council of Ministers on that date as only Chief Minister had assumed office. The Bench said that the Chief Minister, being a Minister, is empowered to take a decision as head of the Cabinet and advise appropriately to the Governor till the appointment of other Ministers. The Bench adjourned further hearing till third week of January 2020.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 2:02:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tipu-jayanti-no-stay-on-govts-decision-says-hc/article29903818.ece

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