Saturday, April 04, 2015

Trivialising religion

Justice Kurian Joseph of the Supreme Court has objected to having a meeting of Chief Justices of various high courts and judges of the Supreme Court from 3rd April to 5th April as this period coincides with Good Friday and Easter Sunday. His role as a pious practitioner of religion has taken precedence over his role as a judge. He has every right to insist on leave of absence from the meeting, but is it proper for him to insist that such meetings should not be held during any religious festivals or observances? He seems to have overstepped rational limits in requiring days of religious significance to be free from official functions.

Justice Joseph has every right to an avid practitioner of his religion. The following report in The Indian Express points to his zest for religious faith. No one can question his personal faith.

"A member of the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Roman Catholic Church, Justice Joseph is a regular at church functions, mainly as a representative of the Catholic laity. In 2012, he was one of the resource persons for an annual conference of the Canon Law Society of India. Its office-bears and members are generally bishops and priests —canon law is the system of laws legal principles enforced by the Pope.
Last year, when the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India held a conference on church and media, Justice Joseph was one of the speakers.
On May 27, 2012, when the Faridabad archbishop was consecrated, Justice Joseph, then Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh, did the first reading during mass.
While serving as a high court judge, Justice Joseph preached Bible on Christian TV channel Shalom TV. Then, he would religiously read a passage from the Bible and interpret the verses. This weekly programme was held every Saturday evening."
By protesting against a meeting on days of religious significance, the judge has inadvertently and overzealously trivialised religion. Religious observance can never be an excuse for conducting or cancelling an official meeting. Work is worship. Christianity values work as much as any other religion. 
The honourable judge has questioned why such meetings are not held during Diwali or Eid. The reason is pragmatic. The idea is to ensure that a large number of potential participants do not stay away. This need not be mistaken as preference or persecution of any religion. Interestingly, Good Friday is not a government holiday in 10 states and union territories including the National Capital Region that is Delhi.

No comments: