Tamil Nadu

Court rejects Hindu Munnani’s plea

The Madras High Court has rejected a plea made by Hindu Munnani against State Government’s decision to supply 5,460 tonnes of raw rice to indigent Muslims for breaking their day-long fast during the holy month of Ramzan.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and M. Nirmal Kumar refused to entertain such a plea styled as public interest litigation after observing that the petitioner organisation appeared to be “proceeding on religious lines.”

When the case was listed for admission through video-conferencing, the judges, at the outset, asked the petitioner’s counsel T. Annamalai to spell out whether Hindu Munnani was a registered organisation or not.

“The learned counsel for the petitioner is unable to give any answer. It is not even stated in the affidavit that the petitioner organisation is a registered organisation and no certificate of registration is also enclosed in the typed set of documents.

“Since the writ petition is styled as a public interest litigation, this court by deleting the name of the organisation, would take it that the writ petition has been filed by the individual (K. Kuttalanathan) who is said to be the secretary of the organisation,” the Bench said.

Proceeding further, the judges recalled that the Supreme Court in Prafulla Goradia versus Union of India (2011) had rejected a challenge made to financial subsidy provided by the Government to Muslims who undertake annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

In that verdict, a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra of the apex court had observed: “It is due to the wisdom of our founding fathers that the Constitution of India is secular and caters to the tremendous diversity.

“It is the greatness of our founding fathers that they kept a cool head during the 1947 partition and decided to declare India a secular country instead of a Hindu country. This is why despite all its diversity, the only policy which can work and provide for stability is secularism.”

In the light of those observations, the Bench led by Justice Sathyanarayanan rejected the plea against distribution of free rice to Muslims during Ramzan. In so far as the other plea for providing similar benefit to all poor people was concerned, the judges ordered notice to the government.

They clubbed the case with another PIL petition filed by R. Satishkumar, who too had sought for a direction to the State to distribute free rice to the poor and the marginalised, and adjourned them to May 7 for further hearing.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 10:21:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/court-rejects-hindu-munnanis-plea/article31448831.ece

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