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Notice to TN govt over change of New Year date

September 12, 2008 16:11 IST

The Madras High Court on Friday ordered notice to the Tamil Nadu government on a Public Interest Litigation questioning its decision to observe the first day of Tamil Month 'Thai' as the Tamil New Year Day.

While admitting the PIL filed by a social worker, the first bench comprising the Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla directed the State Chief Secretary and Public Secretary to file counter within two weeks.

About seven months ago, the Madras High Court imposed an exemplary cost of Rs 10,000 on a social worker for filing a 'frivolous' plea questioning the state government's decision to observe the first day of Tamil month 'Thai' as the Tamil New Year Day.

On Thursday, the same person Ramasamy filed a similar petition again, stating that the Supreme Court had not only waived the cost but also permitted him to file the matter afresh before the high court.

Claiming that for about 2,000 years, the Tamil month of Chithirai was being observed as the first month of Tamil calendar, the petitioner said changing the New Year day did not fall under the constitutional duty of the government.

While umpteen welfare measures, such as education, food, shelter and rehabilitation were awaiting the Government's attention, precious administrative time and efforts need not be spent on changing the New Year month, he said.

The petitioner further said the earlier round of litigation in the high court failed because the division bench which heard the matter came to a conclusion that there was no public interest involved in the case. The government lacked the jurisdiction and competence to change the New Year Day, he added.

Reiterating that the legislation was wholly unwarranted, the petitioner wanted the court to declare the change of Tamil New Year day from Chithirai to Thai as void on the ground that the government lacked legislative competence.

Noting that the Tamil calendar had 60 year circles, the petitioner said it could not be altered either by the government action or by legislative means.


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