Bombay HC rejects PIL challenging Purandare’s Maharashtra Bhushan

The court also fined the petitioners Rs10,000 for filing a frivolous PIL

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) against the state government’s decision to confer Maharashtra Bhushan, the state’s highest award, on author Babasaheb Purandare.

The court also fined petitioners Padmakar Kamble and Rahul Pokle 10,000 for filing a frivolous PIL.

Purandare is best known for his book on life and times of Shivaji called Raja Shiv Chatrapati and play Janata Raja, also based on Shivaji’s life.

Sections of the dominant Maratha community to which Shivaji belonged, as well as some progressive groups, have opposed conferring the honour on Purandare. They allege that Purandare cast aspersions on the parenthood of Shivaji and thus on his mother Jijabai’s character, depicted Shivaji as an anti-Muslim crusader and glorified the role of Brahmin gurus in his life.

While the Sambhaji Brigade, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Congress and various left liberal groups are against conferring the award on Purandare, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) are in support of giving the award to the author.

The award will be conferred on Purandare on Wednesday evening at a function at the Raj Bhavan.

On Wednesday, women activists of Sambhaji Brigade barged into the official residence of state education and culture minister Vinod Tawde in an attempt to gherao him. On Tuesday, Sambhaji Brigade activists ransacked the office of minister of state for home Ram Shinde’s office in his constituency Ahmadnagar and torched state transport buses at a few places.

Meanwhile, MNS activists on Tuesday tried to burn the effigy of NCP president Sharad Pawar at Mumbai’s Parel. On Tuesday, Thackeray had accused Pawar of playing dirty politics over the award and said that Pawar was trying to consolidate his Maratha vote base by opposing the award.

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