Should titles like ‘Shrimant’ be used by the government?
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Office of the Chief Minister of Delhi to provide complete information on the decision to prefix the title ‘Shrimant’ to the road named after the Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia in Delhi. The title ‘Shrimant’ is associated with monarchy and was used earlier with the Kings of many estates.
RTI activist Subhash Chand Aggarwal had approached the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) seeking to know the reason behind adding the title to the road named after Scindia. Before the Central Information Commission, the NDMC produced a couple of letters written by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's then parliamentary secretary Ramakant Goswami to its then chairman Subhash Sharma. Initially, Goswami had requested to name a road after Madhavrao Scindia. When NDMC informed him of renaming Canning Road as Madhavrao Scindia Marg, Goswami requested Sharma to add ‘Shrimant’ before the name on February 26, 2002.
Now the CIC has directed the NDMC to provide all papers in relation to the decision whether it was Goswami's decision or the CM's order. The Article 18 of Constitution forbids conferring the grant of a title, not being a military or academic distinction, by the state. Many roads have been named after the former rulers like Akbar Road, Aurangzeb Road, and Ashoka Road but none have them have a title or prefix attached to it. Should the governments be a party to the use of titles like ‘Shrimant’?
Aggarwal has demanded that the CM should write to the New Delhi Municipal Council to remove the word ‘Shrimant’ and correct the wrong.