File photo of the Bombay High Court. Photograph:( Others )
It is time to reduce public holidays in India rather than increase their numbers, the Bombay high court has observed as it rejected a petition by a resident of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to declare August 2 as a public holiday to commemorate its liberation from the Portuguese in 1954.
"There is no legally enforceable fundamental right to a public holiday," the Bombay High Court recently said, "and whether or not to declare a particular day as a public holiday or optional vacation is a matter of government decision."
It also stated that because the country has "too many public holidays," "the time has come to eliminate rather than grow them."
The court made these remarks while dismissing a petition asking the Administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to establish August 2 as a public holiday to commemorate the Union territory's liberation.
On Wednesday, a division bench of Justice Gautam S. Patel and Madhav J Jamdar heard the plea of Kishnabhai Nathubhai Ghutia, who sought an order directing the respondent authorities to issue a notification declaring August 2 as a public holiday from this year, pending the hearing and final disposition of his writ petition.
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The court heard from Advocates Bhavesh Parmar, Devmani Shukla, Rajesh Sahani, and Reshma Nair, appearing for the petitioner, that the Union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli acquired "Liberation/Independence" from Portuguese authorities on August 2, 1954, and became part of India's territory.
From 1954 to 2020, the 2nd of August was permitted as a public holiday on account of liberation or independence. This was discontinued on July 29th, 2021, "the petitioner claimed."
It was also stated that if August 15 can be designated a public holiday to commemorate the country's Independence Day, there is no reason why August 2 cannot be declared a public holiday in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
(With inputs from agencies)