CHENNAI: Madras High Court judge S Vaidyanathan on Tuesday withdrew certain remarks he had made against Christian educational institutions in one of his recent orders.
The judge, in a recent order, remarked that the Christian missionaries are into "compulsory conversion" and many parents feel that the Christian educational institutions are unsafe.
The comments were made in an order related to sexual harassment allegations against a teaching staff of the Madras Christian College. A few Christian organisations and other civil rights activists had taken objection to the court's remarks. The Indian Christian Association of Tamil Nadu had said that statement of the judge was 'based on conjectures and surmises and the Indian Christian Association requests that it be expunged from the judgement.'
On Tuesday, the counsel of the Madras Christian College made mention before the bench of Justice Vaidyanathan seeking the removal of the remarks. The counsel argued that "there may be one or two stray incidents prevalent in the religion and the same cannot be taken in its entirety as a base to form such an observation." It was submitted that the remarks of the judge was not relevant to the context of the case it heard and was highly detrimental to the interest of the entire Christian Institutions, which are rendering yeoman services to the society.
The judge queried the counsel whether the court can remove the portions in absence of any review petition. To this, the counsel of the college replied that there was no request for reviewing the entire order. Only a particular observation, which is general in nature is sought to be removed. "Such removal will not in any way alter the findings/decisions of this Court," it was argued. It was also submitted that these points were 'not at all urged, canvassed, advanced or discussed by either of the counsel at the time of argument in the Open Court.'
Convinced by the arguments, the judge ordered the deletion of the remarks on Christian institutions and issue fresh copies of the court's order. These observations came under attack by various people and leaders of political parties and Christian organisations.