A day of unusual petitions at HC Bench

Change the English spelling of ‘Tamil Nadu’ to ‘Tahmizhl Naadu’ or ‘Thamizhl Naadu’, pass a government order to announce Lord Murugan as Tamil God, and print the image of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on the Indian currency: these were some of the unusual demands made by public interest litigation petitions heard by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday.

A Division Bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh and S. Ananthi were taken by surprise over the relief sought in the petitions. In his petition, M. Selva Kumar of Thoothukudi district sought a change in the English spelling of Tamil Nadu. He laid emphasis on the Tamil letter ‘zha’ and said that the English spelling of ‘Tamil Nadu’ must be changed in official communications.

The judges observed that though they found some force in the request, they did not wish to get into the discretion of the administration. The court asked the State government to look into the representation and consider it within a period of eight weeks by taking into account the relevant materials on the uniqueness of the word ‘zha’.

However, the judges dismissed the PIL petition that sought the direction to announce Lord Murugan as Tamil God. Hearing the petition filed by G. Thirumurugan of Ramanathapuram district, the judges said that they were not inclined to entertain the petition. Even the relief to consider the representation could not be granted, the court said.

The judges observed that the preamble to the Constitution emphasised on the secular nature of the country. The petitioner might have a justifiable reason to refer to Lord Murugan as Tamil God and it was for him to do so. However, it was not feasible for the State. Tamil language was enriched by literary works and many works in praise of gods contributed to the language, they said.

The judges disposed of the petition filed by K.K. Ramesh of Madurai who sought a direction to print the image of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on the Indian currency. The judges asked the Centre to consider the representation. The contribution made by Netaji to the nation was unparalleled and one could not ignore his sacrifice, the judges said.

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