Last week, the high court in Mumbai ruled that astrology is a science. That decision came in a case involving a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against astrologers. The PIL, filed by Janhit Manch, a judicial NGO, questioned the validity of predictions by “swamiji, tantrik and mantrik who in the garb of their spiritual robe, claim to cure acute ailments by mantra or by so-called precious stones,” and was designed to “check and curb the widespread superstitions prevailing among the masses.” Included in the PIL’s evidence were astrologers’ wrong predictions for Indian prime ministers, including Indira Gandhi and Charan Singh.
But in dismissing the suit, the judges took on record an affidavit submitted by India’s ruling Union government that said astrology does not fall under the purview of the 1954 Drugs and Magical Remedies (Objectional Advertisements) Act, which would ban any articles, ads, and practices related to the subject. “Astrology is a trusted science and is being practised for over 4,000 years,” says the affidavit filed by the deputy drug contoller in India, reported the Times of India. In fact, the judges recalled a 2004 court directive to consider adding astrology to university syllabi as a subject.