Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can’t make rules for showing respect to Bapu’

TNN 11 August 2009, 02:44am

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a plea making it mandatory for people to show respect to Mahatma Gandhi.

The decision came in response to a PIL against UP chief minister Mayawati’s alleged description of Gandhiji as a ‘natakbaaz’ (a hypocrite or gimmicky). The petitioners — advocate Ravi Kant and Sukumar — had cited Gandhiji’s contributions to argue that he deserved respect from every citizen. A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and Justice B S Chauhan patiently heard the petitioners, but declined to lay down a code enjoining upon citizens to show respect to Gandhiji. “We totally agree with you on what you said on Gandhiji. But, we are not here to frame or issue guidelines to citizens for showing respect to Mahatma Gandhi. We cannot entertain such PILs,” the Bench said. The petitioners had sought the court’s intervention for the framing of guidelines, citing the absence of a law to prosecute anyone showing disrespect to the Father of the Nation. The Bench dismissed the PIL even before the petitioners could elaborate on the alleged derogatory remarks of Mayawati against Mahatma Gandhi and their plea for framing of suitable guidelines for showing respect to the Father of the Nation. Citing media reports, the petitioners had accused Mayawati of showing disrespect to Mahatma Gandhi by allegedly describing him as a ‘natakbaaz’ at a congregation of BSP leaders and members last month. The petitioners also criticised her remarks justifying the state government’s decision to install her own statues and those of dalit leaders on the ground that the money spent on these was miniscule compared to the amount spent on ‘samadhis’ at Rajghat.