The Madras High Court on Monday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, seeking a direction to the Union of India, refraining it from using the word ‘Mahatma’ in the Indian currency. A bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar dismissed the PIL with a cost of Rs 10,000, to be paid to the registrar general of the high court.
The petitioner, S Muruganantham of Paramakudia, a PhD and research scholar in the faculty of engineering and technology at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, raised the issue of the constitutional validity of prefixing the title ‘Mahatma’ to the name of M K Gandhi in all types of currency in India.
Stating that the currency is printed and circulated by the Reserve Bank of India and guaranteed by the central government, the petitioner questioned as to how the government allowed the title ‘Mahatma’ in the currency notes which, he claimed, violated Articles 14 and 18 of the Constitution. Besides raising several other questions, the petitioner sought for a direction to the government to put an end to the use of the word ‘Mahatma’ in currency notes, coins and postal stamps.
The bench, while dismissing the petition, observed, “No public interest involved. These types of PILs only clog the business of the court and consume its valuable time.” It also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner, to be paid to the registrar general of the court within a fortnight.