New Delhi: Terming as “unfortunate” the controversy over Judges' conference, the government today said it had no role in organising it on Good Friday and slammed those trying to link the issue to secularism.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the Judiciary has worked on festivals like Ram Navmi, Sankranti, Vinayak Chaturthi which are “pious days for Hindus” without any questions being asked.
He accused opposition of trying to “spread disinformation” to defame BJP and the government.
“I feel bad about the Chief Justices' conference held yesterday. I felt pained after some people linked it also to secularism,” Naidu said, criticising those who did so.
The conference has been surrounded by a controversy after Supreme Court Judge Justice Kurian Joseph objected to the decision to hold it on Good Friday. He had raised the issue with Chief Justice of India H L Dattu and had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express his objection.
Underlining that the conclave was not the government's programme, Naidu said it was the conference of Chief Justices which had been planned in advance.
Such conferences of Chief Justices have been held on Good Friday as retired judge K T Thomas has said, Naidu noted while addressing BJP workers at the party headquarters here.
“Seven years back, it happened (on Good Friday)...At that time Modi was not there, BJP was not there..,” he said at another function.
“But to link it to secularism, I feel surprised as some outsiders, not judges, are using it to attack the government. This is the kind of disinformation spread by them,” the Minister said.
“There are attempts by some to present the government in a negative picture. It is very unfortunate,” he added.
Contending that the Judiciary in India has worked on holidays like Ram Navmi, Sankranti, Vinayak Chaturthi, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa and local festivals, Venkaiah Naidu said there have been no objections to it.
“On Ram Navami, which is pious to Hindus, there is no holiday and courts work. On Vinayak Chaturthi, courts work. Sankranti... that day courts work. Supreme Court does not give holiday. On ugadi also (courts work),” the Minister said.
“That is the system in this country. And you say secularism is in danger. I am not able to understand that. Some people are trying it to link it to the government,” he said, adding in lighter vein that “Modi aaya aur Good Friday bhi kaam karna pad raha hai (Modi has come and we have to work even on Good Friday).”
Giving the example of the USA, he said there are 94 per cent Christians in that country but there is no holiday on Good Friday.