The court urged the petitioner, KP Manjunath to make a representation to the Chief Secretary by Friday.

Karnataka HC declines to intervene in Tipu Jayanti celebrationImage: File Photo/ PTI
news Tipu Jayanti Thursday, November 03, 2016 - 15:59

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday declined to intervene in the PIL seeking that Kodagu district be exempt from observing Tipu Jayanti, as mandated by the state government.

Hearing the PIL which was admitted on Wednesday, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice RB Budhihal asked the petitioner to approach the state government as it was a matter of policy.

The court urged the petitioner, KP Manjunath to make a representation to the Chief Secretary by Friday. The court also directed the state government to take a decision on Manjunath’s representation by November 8.

During arguments, the Attorney General told the court that the Chief Secretary could not make any decision in connection with the celebration of Tipu Jayanti and that it was the Cabinet which had the power to make a decision on the matter.

On Wednesday, the bench orally observed that Tipu Sultan was not a freedom fighter but a monarch who fought to safeguard his interests and even pulled up the government.

“What is the logic behind celebrating Tipu Jayanti? Tipu was not a freedom fighter, but a monarch who fought the opponents to safeguard his interests,” Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee, presiding over the division bench, observed.

Mukherjee questioned the rationale behind celebrating the day when there was a potential for communal tensions to escalate in Kodagu and in other districts of the state. 

“As far as my knowledge of history goes, he (Tipu) was not a freedom fighter, but a ruler of a princely state. What is the use of celebrating this? Even if Nizam of Hyderabad had come, he would have countered him in the same way," Mukherjee said.

The bench had even backed its argument by recalling the law-and-order situation during 2015 celebrations.

However, the public counsel, MR Naik defended the government’s decision and maintained that the 18th century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom was a great warrior who fought against the British.

Sajan Poovaiah, the advocate for the petitioner said that Tipu was a tyrant who killed people belonging to many communities, including Kodavas, Konkanis and Christians.

The Siddaramaiah government decided to observe the birth anniversary of Tipu last year. The government stood its ground even as many, including intellectuals, academia and different communities and organisations opposed the decision.

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