The Supreme Court on Thursday granted four weeks’ time to the Central Government to file its reply to a petition filed by the All India Shiromani Singh Sabha seeking a uniform national public holiday policy. A bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian gave four weeks of time as sought by Attorney General K. K. Venugopal.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued notice to the government regarding the matter. Senior Counsel Vikas Singh today said the Centre has not filed any reply.
The petition sought a uniform and non-arbitrary implementation of policy for declaring public holidays as against the whims and fancies of various political groups. It stated that 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.
The petitioner submitted that it was aggrieved at the fact that the important patriotic and historical figure like 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singhji’s birth anniversary has yet not been declared a public holiday across the country, though Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with 25.8 million believers.
The petitioner organization has also sought a direction for issuing guidelines for declaring public and gazetted holidays all over the country but not restricted to states and Union Territories where Sikhs are in significant number.