Sikh group seeks holiday on Guru Gobind Singh's b'day

Sikh organisation moves SC for declaring Guru Gobind Singh's birth anniversary as public holiday

Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with 25.8 million believers

Credit: PTI file photo.

A Sikh organisation, 'All India Shiromani Singh Sabha' has approached the Supreme Court for a uniform and non-arbitrary implementation of policy for declaring public holidays as against the whims and fancies of various political groups.

The petitioner said it was aggrieved at the fact that the important patriotic and historical figure like tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh ji's birth anniversary has yet not been declared public holiday across the country, though Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with 25.8 million believers.

In India, there is no Public Holidays Act, except the Weekly Holidays Act, 1942, which provided for weekly holidays. In most cases, holidays were declared by the executive at the behest of political groups to appease a particular section of the society. However, in countries like New Zealand, the UK and the USA, the holidays were governed by the legislation, it said.

In a writ petition filed through advocate Durga Dutt, 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. Guru Gobind Singh ji stood against injustice and his teachings transcend time and will remain relevant in all times to come.

It sought a direction for 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.

Maintaining that the issue was of national importance, it said the plea was filed to protect fundamental rights to equality, right to life and freedom to practice one's religion.

The organisation, which made the Union government as well as all states and Union Territories as parties to the plea, said a representation sent to the Ministry of Personal, Public Grievance and Pension, Union government was responded to casually that there is no proposal to declare Guru Gobind Singh Ji's birth anniversary as gazetted public holiday.