Maharaja Holiday: The Resolution, The Response

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Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel hosted an At Home on April 20, 1948 to meet the Rulers of Central India who were in New Delhi in connection with the formation of the Malwa Union. In this rare photo, he is seen with Hari Singh, the Maharaja of Kashmir.

Maharaja Hari Singh’s grandson Ajatshatru Singh moved a resolution in state legislative council demanding his grand-pa’s birthday be declared a state holiday. The government opposed the idea but the BJP lawmaker insisted on voting and it lead to the passage of the resolution. Various PDP and BJP lawmakers supported the move as NC and Congress lawmakers stayed away. It has triggered a new clash of narratives across J&K. Kashmir Life is reproducing the resolution and the response of the government.

The Resolution

“This House resolves that 23 September, the birthday of HH Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Maharaja ofd the state, be declared as a state holiday as a mark of respect for him.”

The Reply

The holidays in the State are observed on account of National events, religious / cultural festivals and birth anniversaries of national and state leaders. The holidays which are notified in the state are categorized as State Holidays, Provincial Holidays, District Holidays and Local Holidays in an area. The practice is being followed in the state over the past few decades.

The list of holidays for every year is notified by the General Administration Department under the following two broad categories:

1, Holidays to be observed in the government officials and educational institutions of the state.

  1. Holidays to be observed under the \negotiable \instruments Act, 1881 (Central Act, 26 of 1881).

The holidays to be observed in government offices and educational institutions are finalized on the basis of the information obtained from different quarters.

The holidays to be observed under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (central act, 26 of 1881), are finalized on the basis of past practice and the guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from time to time. During the calendar year 2014, RBI had suggested that the number of holidays under the \negotiable instruments Act should be restricted to 15 including the three national holidays, i.e Republic Day, Independence Day and Mahatama Gandhi’s birthday.

The following categories of holidays have been notified for the colander year 2017:

  • 28 holidays to be observed through the state during the calendar year 2017.
  • 04 provincial holidays for Kashmir province.
  • 03 provincial holidays for Jammu province.
  • 12 local holidays
  • 04 restricted holidays.
  • 25 holidays to be observed under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

The state observed 28 state holidays, 07 provincial holidays, 12 local holidays, and 04 restricted holidays. In total, the state observed 51 holidays in a calendar year in government offices, financial institutions, and educational institutions. In comparison, the Government of India normally prescribes 17 gazetted holidays, and two restricted holidays during a calendar year. Given the existing number of holidays being observed at various levels in the state, it may not be feasible to further increase the number as the same is likely to affect the delivery of public services.

In the above context. The Hon’ble member is requested to withdraw the resolution.

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