THE Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court Tuesday admonished the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) for associating itself with a ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ programme organised by a temple here, and directed the NMC to take care of the expenses of its AIDS awareness event, while the temple will fund the religious programme, earlier clubbed together.
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The bench comprising Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Swapna Joshi criticised the NMC for linking itself to a programme identified with one religion, asking why not the Bible and the Quran, and why just the Hanuman Chalisa, was to be used to spread the AIDS awareness message. They then disposed of the petition filed by former corporator Janardan Moon, directing the civic body — which is holding the AIDS awareness programme at the venue where the Poddareshwar Ram Mandir has organised a ‘Chalisa’ reading on April 7 — to spend only for its part of the programme. It directed the temple trust to take care of the expenses for the event. The court also directed the two to keep a gap of one hour between the two programmes.
As reported by The Indian Express, the NMC was to spend between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 30 lakh for the programme and the temple was to spend only for the Bhajan by singer Lakha.
Following the HC order, it is expected that the temple will also bear the expenses of raising temporary infrastructure to accommodate the about 1.5 lakh people expected to attend the programme.
The NMC has been envisaging entering the Guinness World Records for health awareness via the April 7 programme.
NMC’s leader of the ruling BJP Dayashankar Tiwari had earlier told The Indian Express that the ‘Chalisa’ programme was selected to spread AIDS awareness because Lord Hanuman is a symbol of celibacy, while Lord Ram symbolises chastity in married life.