September 24, 2015 3:26:35 am
The Rajasthan High Court Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the Rajasthan government’s order for organising blood donation camps in all government and private colleges on September 25, the birth anniversary of Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay which coincides with Eid al Adha, ruling that “the matter cannot be termed to be in the interest of the public at large” and that donating blood is a “noble cause”.
The PIL was filed by Zakir Husain, Jodhpur district president of Welfare Party of India (WPI), against the September 2 order issued by the college education department of the Rajasthan government. The PIL had contended that the state government had not taken into account that “the most important festival for Muslims” will be falling on September 25 and that “with these orders no Muslim employee of these educational institutions will be able to observe the festival, either independently or with their family and friends” and that “the feeling of the Muslim community will be hurt”.
Hearing the petition, a bench of Justice Gopal Krishan Vyas and Justice Jaishree Thakur ruled that “no interference is called for by this court since the matter cannot be termed to be in the interest of the public at large. The state of Rajasthan.by directing that no holiday will be availed by any person in the educational institutions [on September 24 and 25], cannot be said to be arbitrary and issued to single out only one community.”
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It further reads, “Holding of blood donation camps is for a larger noble cause and it does become pious duty of people to donate blood for the benefit of the public.The order is applicable to all the employees of the Commissionerate, College Education, Rajasthan, and thus, it cannot be said that only one religious group is being targeted,” and dismissed the plea.
The government, meanwhile, has maintained that participation is optional. Health Minister Rajendra Rathore had earlier said that the blood donation camps were “voluntary and not binding”. “The government has no intention to cancel the Eid holiday and has not taken any such decision,” Rathore had said.
WPI state president Rashid Husain said, “We are planning to take it to the Supreme Court as it is a matter of fundamental rights. We have already started working on it.”
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