No stretch of imagination can hold the statue of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi as a place of worship or religious institution says the Karnataka High Court. This observation was made by the Court while dismissing a Public Interest Litigation by Advocate A V Amarnathan seeking to cancel the license by the State Excise department to Tonique Bar and Restaurant for its alleged proximity to a Gandhi Statue. He claimed to consider the definition of Religious Institution under Sub-rule (3) of Rule 3 of Karnataka Excise Licences (General Conditions) Rules, 1967. He believed that as prayers are offered near the statue of the Father of Nation, it should be considered as a Religious Institution.
The argument was rejected by the Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice N S Sanjay Gowda by stating that they cannot say the statue of Father of Nation as a religious institution. It was impossible to accept that the statue of Father of Nation can be the same.
The Bench further justified that the Father of Nation has a unique place and is above all religions, he was a democrat who never liked human beings being worshipped.
The statue of the Father of the Nation, Bal Bhavan in Cubbon Park, a Church, and the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police was situated 100 meters from the premises of the Bar was claimed by the petitioner Amarnath. He also said that there is a breach of Rule 5 of the Karnataka Excise Licences (General Conditions) Rules, 1967.
However, objections based on the statue of the Father of Nation and Bal Bhavan were excluded by order dated 9th July. For other objections, the measuring of the distance will be carried out with the help of a Government Surveyor was issued to the Tahsildar. After hearing all the arguments the Court concluded that there was no merit in the petition so it was rejected.