PIL challenges government officer’s circular to conduct pujas for rain in Madurai
In his PIL, Madurai-based advocate N Ilango said water resource organization chief engineer (irrigation) S Asokan issued a circular to executive engineers in the Trichy division directing them to perform special pujas at temples on June 1 so that the state would get more rain and the Mettur dam would have more water. Further, the officer also wanted to know the status of the performance of the pujas.
“By the circular, the officer said goodbye to Article 51 A which speaks to develop scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform,” the petitioner said.
He pointed out a memorandum dated June 29, 1968 directing to remove pictures and statues of gods from government offices and the personnel and administrative reforms order dated December 13, 1993 barring construction of any new structure for religious worship or prayer within the office campus, or enlargement or modification of any existing structure.
Besides, he said the high court bench on March 17, 2010 passed orders directing to implement the government order in letter and spirit and maintaining a communal harmony in government offices.
The circular would encourage those people who were exploiting the public in the name of religion, he said.
“Despite these norms, the chief engineer (irrigation) has sent a circular, which would encourage people who are exploiting the public in the name of religion. His act was a violation of Rule 14A of the Tamil Nadu Government Servant Conduct Rules,” he said.
He wanted the court’s direction to chief secretary, public works department secretary and water resource organization chief engineer to take punitive action against the officer who had issued the circular.
When the matter came up for hearing, the division bench of justices S Manikumar and G Chockalingam said the circular was stated as a confidential one and wanted the petitioner to explain how he had got it.
The court adjourned the matter to June 30.