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What political framework decides the holiday? Asks SC | India News


NEW DELHI: What is the political framework under which the Union government declares a public holiday? The Supreme Court asked on Monday when a PIL complained that Central and state governments arbitrarily notify public holidays mainly to appease to a sector of the population.
The petitioner ‘All India Shiromani Singh Sabha’, through leading advocate Vikas Singh, said that while the Union government declared the birth anniversaries of BR Ambedkar and Prophet Mohammad as holidays, the birthday of the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh was arbitrarily declared simply as a restricted vacation.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices LN Rao and Vineet Saran asked Attorney General Tushar Mehta to respond to the PIL. Mehta said these are policy decisions and that he would take instructions to respond to the PIL. SC gave the Center ten days to submit its affidavit.
PIL petitioner said: “In the absence of any guiding principle or authority regarding the declaration of official / public holidays in India, the executive at the behest of the political groups, who are in power / government, declare the days holidays at their whims and fantasies, serving the political purpose of appeasing a particular sector of the public. ”
Seeking to declare a holiday on the anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh’s birth, the PIL said that constitutional courts have intervened in similar matters before. He said that on April 15, 2019, Bombay HC had ordered to declare “an important festival of the Christian community, Good Friday, as an official holiday in the territory of the Union of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.”
He also cited the “letter issued by Delhi’s chief deputy minister stating that ‘Chhat Puja’ is a public holiday, without mentioning the law and authority under which such a statement was made.” He said there is no uniform policy, rules or guidelines for declaring public / published holidays, except for the ‘Weekly Vacation Act of 1942’, which referred to the granting of weekly vacations to people employed in shops, restaurants and theaters.
Demonstrating the connection between religious festivals and public holidays in India, the petitioner said that “the Center and the states generally adopt the policy of pick and choose to declare a public / official holiday. Although they have graciously declared the birthday of Dr. BR Ambedkar, Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (Id-e-Milad), etc., as public / official holidays against which the petitioner cannot protest, but is aggrieved by the failure to declare Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthday as public holiday “.
“The decisions of the Center and the states to declare a day associated with a particular person as an official holiday and not to consider the contributions of others under discretionary powers amounted to an arbitrary exercise of power and violated the right to equality guaranteed in the Article 14 of the Constitution, “it said.

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