All India Shiromani Singh Sabha, a Sikh organization, has moved the Supreme Court seeking a uniform and non-arbitrary implementation of policy for declaring public holiday.
The plea, filed through advocate Durga Dutt, sought promotion and development of Sikh religious and cultural ethos. The plea said the important birth anniversary of tenth Sikh Guru ” Guru Gobind Singh”, who is a religious icon for the Sikh community, so far has not been declared public holiday across the country, which has deeply aggrieved the Sikh organization.
The petitioner contended that the birth anniversary of the tenth Sikh Guru should be allowed to be celebrated as ‘Prakash Parv’ throughout the country to instil a sense of patriotism, nationalism and brotherhood among the people.
“The petitioner submits that such a recognition by way of declaration of Gazette/ public holiday
would foster the spirit of unity, integrity and fraternity among the people of India and inspire the general populace to follow the High ideals of patriotism, nationalism and brotherhood among the people”, said the plea, citing that Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with 25.8 million believers.
The petitioner said Guru Govind Singh stood against injustice and his teachings transcend time and will remain relevant in all times to come. The petitioner also cited the casual response of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pensions, on its representation, saying that at present there is no proposal for declaring Prakash Parv as gazetted public holiday.
The organisation has made the Centre as well as all state governments and Union Territories as parties to the plea.
The plea argued that holidays in countries like New Zealand, UK and USA, are governed by the legislation. However, in India there is no Public Holidays Act, except the Weekly Holidays Act, 1942, which provided for weekly holidays.
The petitioner contended that in most cases holidays were declared by the executive at the behest of political groups, which is usually to appease a particular section of the society.
The plea submitted that due to lack of specific guidelines, codified laws there is no uniform policy, objective parameter to declare a public holiday in India. The plea sought a direction for declaring issuing guidelines for declaring public and gazetted holiday all over the country but not restricted to states and Union Territories where Sikhs are in significant numbers.