REVISEDITEM NO.38 COURT NO.7 SECTION PIL
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO(s)। 266 OF 2009
RAVI KANT & ANR. Petitioner(s)
STATE OF U.P. & ORS. Respondent(s)
(With appln(s) for exemption from filing O.T.)Date: 29/06/2009
This Petition was called on for hearing today.CORAM : HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE DALVEER BHANDARI HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ASOK KUMAR GANGULY [VACATION BENCH]
For Petitioner(s) Mr. Ravi Kant, Adv. Mr. Sukumar, Adv. For Respondent(s) Mr. U.U. Lalit, Sr. Adv. Mr. Satish Chandra Mishra, Sr. Adv. Mr. Jyotinder Mishra, Sr.Adv. Mr. Pramod Swarup, Sr. Adv. Mr. S.K. Dwivedi, Adv. for Mr. G.V. Rao, Adv.UPON hearing counsel the Court made the following ORDERTwo public spirited persons who are practicingadvocates have filed this writ petition in which the grievance hasbeen made that hundreds of crores of public money is beingspent by the Government of Uttar Pradesh for personalglorification by erecting statues particularly of leaders who arepresently in power. It is also incorporated in the petition that 2the installation of sixty elephants’ statue at the cost of RS. 52.20crores is not only wastage of public money but also contrary tothe circulars issued by the Election Commission.It is alleged that the Uttar Pradesh Department ofCulture has almost spent 90% of its budget for erecting thesestatues.In the petition, a reference has been made to the communication sent by the Election Commission of India on1.4.2009. The relevant portion of the communication reads asunder:”The underlying intention of the Commission’s instruction was that the photographs and images of the political functionaries, who have deep influence on the minds of electors and many of whom are still active in public life and may even be contesting the current general elections, should not be displayed in the government buildings and premises as that would have the effect of disturbing the level playing field vis- a-vis the political functionaries of other parties and candidates. In view of the inputs received, the Commission had issued the above instructions. In the meanwhile, certain doubts have been raised and clarification has been sought about the removal of the images of some national leaders, poets and prominent historical personalities of the past. In this regard, the Commission would like to state that the above mentioned underlying purpose of the instruction needs to be fully appreciated while being acted upon. It is clarified that while the photographs of Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Ministers and other 3political functionaries should not be displayed, this instruction, however, is not applicable with regard to the images of national leaders, poets and prominent historical personalities of the past, and the President of India and the Governors. It is further clarified that in case of any doubt in this regard regarding removal of any photograph or images, the issue may be referred to the Chief Electoral Officer of the State/ Union Territory concerned before taking action in the matter.”In the petition, it is also mentioned that in the State ofU.P., human development index is among the lowest in thecountry. It is further stated that:
1) U.P. has the lowest literacy rate in the country 56.27% (68.82 male and 42.22 females -2001 census)
2) U.P. tops in India on maternal mortality.
3) In neo natal mortality U.P. is among the top fivestates.
4) U.P. has the highest number of child labour as per2001 census.
5) U.P. had the largest number of poor with 59 millionliving below the poverty line.
.6) Out of 97122 villages, 56977 villages are electrified(59%) as per CEA data of 2005.
In the petition, it is stated that the State of U.P. needsmore funds for the emancipation of socio economic problems. Itis also stated that it is the duty and obligation of the State tomake policy and programmes for the welfare of the public at 4large and especially for the weaker sections of the society. Thepetitioners would perhaps have no objection if there would havebeen one or two symbolic statues for drawing inspiration in theState. The huge public funds which are otherwise meant forimproving the conditions of millions of people living below thepoverty line cannot be legitimately diverted for erecting statuesand parks. The State must properly set its priorities. Theconcerned authorities in power must realize that they areholding public money in trust and it must be judiciously spent.In the petition, it is alleged that the respondents haveshown utter disregard to the constitutional mandate whiledeciding to spent huge money on installing a very large numberof statues. According to the petitioners, the funds need to beused for the welfare and development of people and particularlyof the weaker sections of the society.Notice to show cause as to why this petition be notadmitted.
Mr. G.V. Rao, advocate accepts notice on behalf ofrespondent Nos. 1 & 2. He prays for and is granted four weeks’time to file counter-affidavit. Notice be sent to the remaining respondents.
(Pardeep Kumar) (Neeru Bala Vij) Court Master Court Master