As it is, we have far too many public holidays in this country. Perhaps the time has come to reduce, not increase, the number of public holidays. We do not see any substance in the petition. It is rejected.
Bombay High Court
On Wed, Jan 5
This was the honourable court’s response to a plea seeking directions to the Administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to declare August 2 as a public holiday to celebrate the Liberation Day of the Union territory. The petitioner, one Kishnabhai Nathubhai Ghutia, was represented by counsels Bhavesh Parmar, Devmani Shukla, Rajesh Sahani and Reshma Nair. Their contention was that on August 2, 1954 the Union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli gained “Liberation/Independence” from Portuguese rule and became part of the territory of India.
“From 1954 to 2020, August 2 was permitted as a public holiday on account of Liberation or Independence. This was discontinued on July 29, 2021,” the petitioner claimed. It was further argued that if August 15 can be declared as a public holiday to mark the nation’s Independence Day, there is no reason why August 2 should not be declared a public holiday for Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
The petitioner further referred to an order of another bench of the high court passed on April 15, 2019 pertaining to the concerned Union territory, wherein Good Friday was listed as a restricted (optional) holiday but not a gazetted holiday.
As per the said order, the argument was made that taking into account the population of Christians in the area, it was decided not to declare Good Friday as a gazetted holiday. However, observing that Christmas and similar holidays are widely celebrated, the coordinate bench had disposed of the PIL by directing the administrator to declare Good Friday as a gazetted holiday in the Union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
However, the bench led by Justice Patel observed: “That order stands on a different footing from the present case. That PIL was about the failure to gazette (make compulsory), a public holiday rather than keep it optional. Whether or not to declare a particular day as a public holiday or an optional holiday or no holiday at all is a matter of government policy. There is no legally enforceable right that can be said to have been infringed. Nobody has a fundamental right to a public holiday.”