Plea against law altering Tamil new year day dismissed

July 8th, 2008 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging a Tamil Nadu law which has altered the Tamil new year day from mid-April to on or around Jan 14. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan dismissed the petition saying such issues had to be better dealt by the Madras High Court.

The bench, which also included Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal, also pointed out to the petitioner, Chennai-based social activist K.R. Ramaswami, that his lawsuit was filed when the state legislature was yet to enact the law and was merely considering the bill to enact it.

But in the intervening period, when the lawsuit was pending in the apex court, the bill was passed while the petition still prays for the court’s direction to the state legislature to refrain from passing the bill, said the bench.

Ramaswami, also known as ‘Traffic’ Ramaswami, had moved the apex court in April, seeking to stall the state assembly from enacting the law altering the Tamil new year day.

The petitioner had come to the apex court in an appeal against the Madras High Court’s Feb 13 ruling which dismissed his petition challenging the bill.

The high court had also fined the petitioner Rs.10,000.

In his petition to the apex court, Ramaswami also challenged the fine imposed on him. But the apex court gave him no relief on this count.

The petitioner argued that the Tamil new year traditionally begins on the first day of the Tamil month of Chitirai, also known as Chaitra in north India, which tentatively falls in mid-April.

But the bill sought to change the state’s new year day to on or around Jan 14, the first day of the Tamil month of Thai.

Terming the bill an “unheard of step taken by any Indian legislature”, Ramaswami contended in his petition that the Tamils across the globe have been celebrating their new year day on the first day of Chitirai since time immemorial.

He contended that the Tamil new year day had been fixed on the basis of sound astronomical, astrophysical and mathematical calculations and the state government led by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi of DMK was out to destroy the sanctity of the tradition.

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