Subscribe to South Asia Citizens Wire | feeds from sacw.net | @sacw
Home > Special Dossiers / Compilations > Religion and Obscurantism > Activists move courts against religious rituals or display of religion in (...)

Activists move courts against religious rituals or display of religion in Govt offices in southern India

7 October 2011

print version of this article print version

The Times of India

PIL in Madras HC seeks to ban pujas in govt offices

TNN Oct 5, 2011, 05.39 AM IST

CHENNAI: Holding pujas, displaying religious portraits or idols and celebrating religious festivals inside government offices, is illegal and has been banned in Tamil Nadu since 1968.

Citing the first ban order dated April 29, 1968, and reinforced by several orders and circulars thereafter, a public interest writ petition has been filed in the Madras high court seeking to ban the ’menace’ in government offices.

A division bench of Justice D Hariparanthaman and Justice GM Akbar Ali has issued notice to the government.

In his PIL, Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) president T S Mani contended that the order directing government authorities to remove all religious symbols and idols was issued first on April 29, 1968.

In December 1993, the government amended the Tamil Nadu Government Office Manual and stated that heads of departments and district collectors must ensure that no construction of any new structure for religious worship or prayer was made within office campus.

In August 1994, he said, the chief secretary wrote to all secretaries stating that if any religious worship or prayer was held within office campus, appropriate action would be taken under Rule 14(a) of the Tamil Nadu Government Servants Conduct Rules 1973.

Mani further said that in January 1997, the public secretary again directed all heads of departments and district collectors to ensure that no religious functions of any nature were conducted on government office premises.

Again, in May 2005, the director-general of police issued an order prohibiting religious activities inside any police office complex or residential quarters.

In spite of all these orders, directions and circulars, no action had been taken to stop pujas, especially Ayudha Puja, in government offices, Mani said, adding that subordinate officials collect donations in the name of pujas. "Police stations collect money and invite purohits. They even garland and put religious marks on guns, revolvers and other weapons," the PIL said.

He also pointed out that on March 17, 2010, the Madras high court had directed the government to implement its orders banning such activities. Though circulars are sent, authorities do not take any action to stop religious activities on government office campuses, Mani complained.

o o o

Chennai Zoom

PIL filed against religious festivals in govt offices filed

1st Oct 2011:

MADURAI: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court, forbearing the authorities from conducting all sorts of religious activities within the premises of government offices.

In his PIL, S P Muthuraman, a social worker of Tirunelveli said that performing religious practices, especially Hindu religious rituals like Saraswathi pooja and Ayudha pooja in government offices, is against the secularism.

see source

(read related news about the worship held at police headquarters in Managlore here

o o o

Religious rituals in government offices: Against secular values?

by CD Network, Photos by Ahmed Anwar Sunday, 17 October 2010 14:22

Is holding of poojas in government offices wrong? Does it violate the norms laid down by the Constitution? Is it against the secular values of our country?

worship inside a Tamil Nadu police station
Photo by Ahmed Anwar 13 October 2010 (www.coastaldigest.com)

see original photo source

When Coastaldigest.com spoke to people with regard to conducting of Ayudha Pooja in government offices and institutions on the day penultimate day of Navaratri (Saturday, October 16), this is what they had to say:

http://www.coastaldigest.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=15244:ayudha-pooje-conducted-by-police-people&catid=58:exclusive-news&Itemid=57