Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of N. Kirubakaran and M. Duraiswamy, JJ., while addressing the matter with the concern of printing images of Great leaders on currency notes, expressed that,

If every claim is started to be entertained, there will not be any end.

What is the use of printing images of Great Leaders, who fought for our Independence without following their principles, in currency notes?; merely because the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi is appearing in the currency, does it mean that the currency is used only for legal purposes. Whether the currency should have the portrait of a particular leader or otherwise is the policy of the Government.

 In the instant matter, petitioner appeared before the Court challenging the respondent’s order by which the petitioner’s claim for printing the image of Nethaji Subhash Chandra Bose in the currency notes was rejected.

Petitioner stated that if the image of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose will be printed in the currency note it will be a tribute paid to the great leader.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court stated that it was evident from the impugned order that, on the evidence of the Government of India, a Committee was constituted by the Reserve Bank of India in October, 2010 for designing the future currency notes and the Committee deliberated on the issue o changing the existing image of Mahatama Gandhi and inclusion of certain other personalities in the new design Bank notes. However, the Committee decided that no other personality could better represent the ethos of India than Mahatma Gandhi and therefore, no other personality image was decided to be included in the currency note.

The above decision of the Committee was accepted by the Ministry of Finance.

Bench added that it is not underestimating the fight and sacrifice made by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and great leaders for freedom moment of this Country.

There are many known heroes and unsung heroes. If everybody starts making such a claim there will not be an end.

Court emphasized that, Central Government as well as Reserve Bank of India have already constituted a Committee and took a decision that it is only the father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi could represent the ethos of India and therefore, it was decided to retain the Mahatma Gandhi’s image in the currency notes and no other personality image is decided to be included.

Hence, Bench lastly held that only the government can take a decision and this Court cannot substitute the views of the Committee report which had been accepted by the Government.

In view of the above, petition was dismissed. [K.K. Ramesh v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 5022, decided on 10-08-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr K.K. Ramesh (Party-in-Person)

For Respondents: Mrs L. Victoriya Gowri, Assistant Solicitor General of India

OP. ED.SCC Journal Section Archives

Mahatma Gandhi has been recognised throughout the world as a glorious symbol of truth and non-violence. He laid great emphasis on the purity of means for achievement of noble ends. Truth is as old as the Himalayas. Everyone knows its value and strength but Gandhiji applied it in every aspect of his life and proved that one could achieve success even in the most difficult areas of his activities by sticking to truth. There is an erroneous belief that to be a successful lawyer one has to twist facts and sometimes present certain facts which are not wholly true. But this was not so with Gandhiji. He had been in search of truth from his early life. There are a number of incidents in his life which go to show that he followed the path of truth even in the face of numerous difficulties. He disproved the theory that without using untruth no one could be a successful lawyer. He held that ‘it was not impossible to practice law without compromising truth’.

He had expressed that in England and South Africa lawyers were consciously or unconsciously led into untruth for the sake of their clients. He vehemently opposed an English lawyer when he advocated that the duty of a lawyer was to defend a client even if he knew that he was guilty. Gandhi on the other hand was emphatic that the duty of a lawyer was to place correct facts before the judge and to help him to arrive at the truth, and not to prove the guilty as innocent.

[Read more]


* Research Officer, (Law) U.P. Government

**  This Article was first published in Supreme Court Cases (1970) 1 SCC J-7. It has been reproduced with the kind permission of Eastern Book Company

Conference/Seminars/LecturesLaw School News

The Training and Placement Cell, Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA in collaboration with I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee) has organised an interactive session on ‘Mahatma Gandhi’s 18-Point Constructive Programme – Indian Politics and Role of Youth’ on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm.

Gandhiji’s Constructive Programme: Most of us know of Gandhiji as the man who led our struggle for freedom from British rule. But did you also know that while fighting for political independence, he was also wanting to prepare the people for a new and just social order so that Independence, when it came, would be “complete”. In other words, his was a struggle for Poorna (or complete) Swaraj for all irrespective of their caste, class or religion. This meant building up or constructing the nation from its smallest unit (consisting of self reliant individuals living in independent self reliant communities) upwards, through nonviolent and truthful means.

To make political independence more meaningful, there were certain weaknesses in the Indian social structure which needed to be strengthened. Conflicts between different religious groups (mainly Hindus and Muslims), untouchability, fear arising out of ignorance, economic disparities, decaying condition of our villages, the plight of adivasis, kisans and the labourers, and the position of women were areas of major concern. In a small booklet, entitled Constructive Programme: its meaning and place, which he wrote on the train from Sevagram to Bardoli, he appealed to all Congressmen and others engaged in the freedom struggle to address these issues.

The original thirteen items were: Communal Unity, Removal of Untouchability, Prohibition, Khadi, Village Industries, Village Sanitation, Nai Talim or Basic Education, Adult Education, Women, Knowledge of Health and Hygiene, Provincial languages, National Language and Economic Inequality. To this, he added five more items: Kisans, Labour, Adivasis, Lepers and Students.

The 18 point constructive programme thus became his framework for the new India he wished to see after Swaraj. Seventy two years after independence, do you think that they still have any meaning for us? (Source: Everyone’s Gandhi-Chapter 28: Gandhiji’s Constructive Programme, Editor Rita Roy available online at http://www.gandhiashramseva gram.org/short-stories-for- everyone/chapter-28- constructive-programme-of- gandhiji.php) by Gandhi Sevagram Ashram, Vardha (Maharashtra-India) Founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936)

Resource Persons:

Mr. Akbar Khan, Senior Associate & Campaign Strategy Consultant at I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee)

Mr. Akbar has done BBA (2009-12) from Annamali University, Kerala; Diploma in Marketing (2012) from London Chamber of Commerce; and International Master of Business Administration (MBA) from IE Business School, Madrid (2016-17). Mr. Akbar prior to his association with I-PAC was associated with: Bentley Motors at Ahmed Zayani & Sons, Bahrain as Sales and Marketing Coordinator (May 2012-August 2016); Asnaam Contracting, Bahrain as Sales Co-ordinator (January 2009 – April 2012).

Mr. Angad Singh, Campaign Associate at I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee)

Mr. Angad Singh has done B.Com. (Hons) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi (2014-17). Mr. Angad Singh, prior to his association with I-PAC was associated as intern with: United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) ( January 2018 – March 2018); Public Policy Research Centre (November-December 2017).

Mr. Robin Sharma, National Campaigns Team, I-PAC (Indian Political Action Committee) 

Mr. Robin Sharma has done B.A.,L.L.B (Hons.) from National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University, Hyderabad (2013-2018). Mr. Robin’s areas of interest include Project Management, Strategic Planning, Research, Criminal Law and Contract Law.

Date and time: August 14, 2018: 10:00am – 11:30am

Venue: Seminar Hall, Third Floor, Academic Block, Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA

Contact persons: Dr. Meenakshi Kaul, Assistant Professor & Head – HR and Training, Training and Placement

Mr. Siddharth Kanojia, Assistant Professor & Head – Placement, Training and Placement

Ms. Pallavi Mishra, Assistant Professor & Head – Internship, Training and Placement

Email: hr@symlaw.edu.in

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and SA Bobde, JJ appointed Senior Advocate Amrender Sharan as amicus curiae to assist the Court in the plea seeking re-investigation of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.  The petition filed by Mumbai-based Dr Pankaj Phadnis, a researcher and a trustee of Abhinav Bharat, has sought reopening of the probe on several grounds, claiming it was one of the biggest cover-ups in history.

The bench that, while hearing the plea, said that nothing can be done in law in the case which has been decided long ago, told the amicus that this observation was not binding on him to make an assessment of the matter and posted it for further hearing on October 30.

The petitioner said that appeals filed by the convicts in the assassination case were dismissed in 1949 by the East Punjab High Court, following which the Privy Council had sent the matter back on the ground that the Supreme Court of India will come into existence in January 1950. He also said that another person might be involved in firing shots at Mahatma Gandhi. To which the Court responded by saying:

“You say that there was someone else, a third person who killed him (Gandhi). Is that person alive today to face the trial?”

The petitioner responded by saying that he did not know if that person is alive but investigation should be ordered to ascertain the truth. He also said that there was a possibility that the assassination was carried out by an organised body.

In the petition, the petitioner has also questioned the ‘three bullet theory’ relied upon by various courts of law to hold the conviction of Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte, who were hanged to death on November 15, 1949, and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who was given the benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence. He has claimed that the Justice J L Kapur Commission of Inquiry set up in 1966 was not able to unearth the entire conspiracy that had led to the killing of Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead at point blank range in New Delhi on January 30, 1948 by Nathuram Vinayak Godse.

Source: PTI

Supreme Court

Supreme Court:- While deciding an appeal filed by the publisher of the poem ‘Gandhi Mala Bhetala’ (I met Gandhi) wherein the publisher ,the printer and the author  of the poem were charged  under Section 292 of IPC, the main question raised was whether a historical personality can be connected to obscene situations by way of allusion in poems and is such connection protected by poetic license, the Division Bench of Dipak Misra and P.C.Pant, JJ., observed that, according to the evolved test of  “contemporary community standards test” is the parameter of adjudging obscenity in write-ups where a historically respected personality is used as an allusion, therefore what can otherwise pass the contemporary community standards test for use of the same language, it would not be so, if the name of Mahatma Gandhi is used as a symbol. The Court further observed that there is no necessity for the issue to be referred to a larger Bench.

Gopal Subrimanium, the counsel for the appellate contended that “Poetic License” is neither a concept nor a conception because the idea of poetic freedom is guaranteed and an enforceable fundamental right and the court should not detract and convert it into a permissive license. He further argued that freedom of speech and expression needs to interpreted on a broader canvas and poetry being one of the most fearless form of expression, cannot be restricted due to the use of the name of a personality. Fali S. Nariman, the Amicus Curiae, contended, that the the main question is whether the poem prima facie exhibits obscenity, especially in the context of Mahatma Gandhi. He further contended that the poem might have not been obscene otherwise, but once the name of a respected personality as Mahatma Gandhi is attached to it, then the character of the words change and assume the position of obscenity. The case pertains to the poem ‘I met Gandhi’. In the case the author has used Gandhi as an allusion or a symbol. He has shown Mahatma Gandhi in obscene situations in the poem and therefore, the publisher, the printer and the author of the poem were charged under Section 292 of IPC. In the Trial Court they were convicted under Section 292 but the charges under Sections 153-A and 153-B of the IPC, were dropped against them.           

The Court observed that, ‘poetic license’ does not mean license as it is understood in law, for there is no authority that grants the poet a license, rather it denotes the liberty of the poet to go into his realms of imagination to compose a creation. The Court further stated that freedom of speech and expression indeed needs a broader interpretation, but it has certain inherent limitations and cannot be put into the “compartment of absoluteness”. The Court held that the case of obscenity under section 292 of IPC against the publisher (appellant) and the printer of the poem in question should be quashed as they have tendered unconditional apology; however, the Court remained silent on the fate of the author of the poem but allowed him to present his defenses at the trial explaining the sense in which the words have used with Mahatma Gandhi as the allusion. Devidas Ramachandra Tuljapurkar v. State of Maharashtra, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 486, decided on 14.05.2015