Court quizzes petitioner against puja on premisesJanuary 18th, 2011 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS
Gandhinagar, Jan 18 (IANS) The Gujarat High Court Tuesday questioned a petitioner who has challenged the performing of Hindu religious rituals and a puja during a groundbreaking ceremony held in the court premises last year.A bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice J.C. Upadhayay sought to know from petitioner Rajesh Solanki as to how the rituals amounted to exploitation of anyone’s religious sentiments.
The bench also sought to know from him if any of the dignitaries performed a ritual or offered prayers, and it was not so, then how was it barred by law or the constitution.
The court said that it was a settled principle that law has no religion. The constitution also provided the freedom to follow any religion.
The bench wanted to know as to how undue advantage accrued to any particular religion to the discrimination of others through the performing of the said ritual.
“We think at the ceremony many staff members belonging to the Muslim community may have been present. Do you think it was inappropriate?”
The petitioner, in his reply, apologised if he sounded arrogant and said: “People don’t come forward with their grievance and don’t speak up many times against the authorities. It should not mean that there is no grievance.”
He also sought time to engage a lawyer. The bench allowed him two days’ time and posted the matter for further hearing Jan 20.
Advocate Mukul Sinha showed his willingness to assist the petitioner as it involved a larger question and the court allowed the petitioner to make up his mind in that regard.
Solanki in his petition challenged the groundbreaking ceremony held in the high court premises during the golden jubilee function held in May 2010.
He said Governor Kamla Beniwal, Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and other judges of the court were present at the ceremony where prayers were performed as per Hindu rituals.
The petitioner also filed a photograph of the governor and the chief justice taking part in the ritual in the presence of a Hindu priest.
Solanki said in his petition that the state, as defined under constitution, was required to restrain itself from being associated with any religious faith. “The pooja (Hindu prayer held in court premises) makes out that the state is associated with Hinduism and recognised it as state religion,” the petition said.
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Tags: apologised, bench, chief justice, court premises, dignitaries, golden jubilee, grievance, groundbreaking ceremony, gujarat high court, hindu rituals, jayant patel, kamla, mukul, muslim community, petitioner, puja, religious rituals, religious sentiments, sinha, staff members