No place for Gods in Maharashtra’s rural govt offices
The state government has directed the rural civic bodies to remove photos of Gods or religious figures from the government offices and state run schools with immediate effectmumbai Updated: Jan 24, 2017 22:51 IST
The state government has directed the rural civic bodies to remove photos of Gods or religious figures from the government offices and state run schools with immediate effect. The offices also have been reminded that solicitation of any religion by displaying religious slogans and performing puja was against the provisions of the Constitution of India. A government employees’ union has also demanded to ban such solicitation in other government offices including state headquarters, Mantralaya.
Rural Development Department (RDD) has sent a letter to all district councils on January 4 asking the government offices not to resort to any religious activities. This is line with the Constitution of India that insists on secular nature of the government machinery. In the letter the offices have been directed that performing religious rituals, celebrating festivals and putting up posters and slogans on the walls was against the constitutional provisions and hence should not be practiced. The officers have also been directed to remove such slogans or the portraits respectfully.
“The letter was issued after the general administration department wrote us about the standing orders on the issue in October last year. Our department too had issued a government resolution warning the offices to not solicit religious rituals in June 2002, now they have just been demanded about the old orders,” said an official from the RDD.
Maharashtra State Castribe Employees Welfare Federation and Mee Buddhist organizations have been demanding the strict implementation of the standing orders in the government officials. Following the demand, the Cultural Affair department had forwarded the demand to the GAD for the further action.
Bhagwan Sahai, additional chief secretary of GAD refused to comment on the issue.
Sources from the department said that considerable number of manhours are being spent in religious rituals in the government offices. “Putting portraits of a particular religion may lead to feeling of insecurity in the minds of people from other religion in the government offices. The constitution has clear directive on this and government too has issued directives clarifying it time to time,” an official said.
Arun Vishwambhar of organization Pravaratan, which has been fighting for the ‘secular’ surrounding in the government officer for last few years said, “The country is secular in nature even though every citizen has freedom to follow his or her religion. The government offices are expected to be free from any religious surrounding and we have been fighting for the cause for more than ten years.”