Arguing that the depiction of the image of Mata Vaishno Devi on the new series of Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins would “hurt religious sentiments” as the state would be seen to be “espousing the cause of a single religion”, a petition has been filed before the Delhi High Court to recall the new coins and prohibit circulation of the series.
According to the PIL filed through advocate Sachin Mishra, the coins which were released by the Reserve Bank of India in August this year to commemorate the silver jubilee of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. The plea contended that these coins would be “used everywhere including places such as liquor shops, meat shops, toilets, etc.”, which would amount to a disrespect of the deity.
Further, the plea argued that the coins would “create communal disharmony” since the “minority community” would “take umbrage at the religious overtones”.
The coins have a picture of the goddess on the reverse side, with the words “Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board” around the rim of the coin.
During arguments before the bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, advocate Mishra said the issue was a very serious one.
He said it could “incite communal riots” as Vaishno Devi was a “revered goddess” and since coins were used universally as small change, there was a chance that they would not be used in an inappropriate manner in places such as liquor shops and toilets.
The lawyer also informed the court that a representation had been sent to the RBI to recall the coins, but there had been no response.
The High Court declined to issue any orders on the plea and asked the petitioner to approach the RBI with a modified representation seeking discontinuation of the series instead of a recall of the coins.