The Madras High Court on 10 August dismissed a plea that had sought an order to get the image of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose printed on currency notes. The court wondered what was the use of printing the image of great leaders who fought for India’s independence without following their principles.
“Merely because the image of Mahatma Gandhi is printed on currency notes, does it mean that (the) currency is used for legal purposes (alone)?” a division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and M Duraiswamy posed.
Petitioner KK Ramesh, who appeared as party-in-person, had challenged the order passed by the Ministry of Finance that had rejected his demand to print Netaji’s image on currency notes. The judges observed that they were not underestimating the freedom struggle and sacrifice made by Netaji or other great leaders. “There are several known and unsung heroes who contributed to the freedom movement of our country. If everybody starts making such claims, there would be no end (to this). Moreover, recent days claims and counterclaims are made on religion, community, region and race,” observed the judges.
The judges observed that the union government and RBI had constituted a committee in 2010 for deciding on future currency notes and the question of changing the existing image of Gandhi and inclusion of images of certain other personalities. However, the committee decided after deliberations that no other personality could better represent the ethos of India than Gandhi and its report was accepted by the ministry.
The high court judges observed that the decision of the union government and RBI to retain the Gandhi image on currency notes could not be faulted with. It is only the government that can take such a policy decision and this court cannot substitute the view taken by the committee. Hence, the ministry’s order rejecting the petitioner’s claim cannot be said to be illegal.
A division bench of the high court had on 4 February disposed of KK Ramesh’s PIL seeking to print an image of Netaji on currency notes by directing the authorities to consider the request. He had submitted a representation to the ministry which rejected it.