Will settle Good Friday issue: Chief Justice of India

The Chief Justice expressed his misgivings about the controversy, calling it “unfortunate.”

New Delhi (UCAN): 

Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu on Sunday downplayed Justice Kurian Joseph’s objection to the holding of the Chief Justices conference on a Good Friday, saying it was an internal family issue to be settled within the four walls of the judiciary.

“I am the head of the family… if one member questions me, we will settle it ourselves,” the Chief Justice told the media on the sidelines of the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices here on Sunday. 

The Chief Justice expressed his misgivings about the controversy, calling it “unfortunate.”

Justice Kurian Joseph, in a phone interview with The Hindu on Saturday, explained that his written objection to the Chief Justice was an expression of his anguish over the way “secularism is being tinkered with.” 

Justice Joseph did not attend the joint conference on Sunday. He had also declined the Prime Minister’s invitation to the Saturdaydinner for top judges, including the Chief Justices of 24 High Courts.

In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Justice Joseph had said: “Irrespective of the religion, Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Eid, Bakrid, Christmas, Easter etc. are great days of festival celebrations in the neighbourhood. Your good self would kindly appreciate that no important programmes are held during the sacred and auspicious days of Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Eid, Bakrid etc., though we have holidays during that period as well.”

“I regret my inability to attend the event as the conference coincides with the Good Friday ceremonies. Good Friday is a day of great religious significance to us, marking the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ,” he had said.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said he supported Justice Joseph’s stand. He said the right to freely profess and practise religion was protected under the Constitution.

“I stand for the truth. I stand for a cause,” Justice Joseph had said on Saturday.

However, not many supported Justice Joseph’s views.

Justice K T Thomas, a reputed former judge who served in the Supreme Court, defended the All-India Chief Justices Conference being held on Good Friday, saying, “what the chief justices are doing is also a holy act and Jesus Christ will bless them because they are implementing justice for the people on the holy day”.

Justice Thomas was responding to sitting SC Judge Justice Kurien Joseph’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which he expressed reservation over the conference being held on Good Friday.

“The criticism only shows that some people have become intolerant,” Thomas, also a Christian, told a newspaper. 

When contacted by ‘Express’, Thomas explained that policemen across the country were also on duty on Good Friday and other holy festivals, and that they did not stay away from work even though those were their religious festivals.

“On an earlier occasion in 2007, the Conference of Chief Justices was held (on a Good Friday), nobody even bothered. This is because today there are people who want to show that there is Christian persecution in India, to which I don’t agree. There is no persecution of Christians in India. I am a church-going Christian. For the last 12 years, I am delivering sermon on GoodFriday. That is my personal thing and belief,” he added.

Justice Thomas further said that India was a country where only 3 per cent of the population belongs to the Christian community. But in America, Christians constitute 97 per cent of the population, but Good Friday is not even a holiday there.

Source: The HinduNew Indian Express


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