Tamil Nadu

Bishops’ Council, AIDWA concerned over judge’s remark on Christian-run institutions

Justice Vaidyanathan had said parents felt that Christian co-education institutions were highly unsafe for the future of girls

Days after Justice S. Vaidyanathan of the Madras High Court commented in an order that parents felt that Christian co-education institutions were highly unsafe for the future of girls, several groups, including the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council (TNBC), the Tamil Nadu Latin Bishops’ Council (TNLBC), the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and the Indian Christian Association of Tamil Nadu expressed concern over his remarks.

The judge made the comments while dealing with a sexual harassment case involving a professor of the Madras Christian College.

In a statement issued on Monday, TNBC and TNLBC termed two of Justice Vaidyanathan’s observations — that there were “several accusations against Christians for indulging in compulsory conversion of people of other religions into Christianity”; and that there was a “general feeling among the parents of female students that co-educational studies in Christian institutions is highly unsafe for the future of their children” — regrettable and unwarranted.

“First of all, the case is not in any way connected with the question of religious conversion. Therefore, the said observation on religious conversion was unwarranted,” said Rev. Dr. Antony Pappusamy, Archbishop of Madurai and president of TNBC and TNLBC. Regarding the observation about female students being unsafe, Dr. Pappusamy said, “We wonder what the material and data placed before the honourable judge were, that led him to render such a finding. As such, from a cursory reading of the factual matrix in that particular case, we do not find any institutional material warranting such an observation.”

In a statement, S. Valentina, State president, AIDWA, said that when the words from a judge could become a law, the baseless accusations of the judge could have a serious impact on the welfare of minorities in the current socio-political climate.

“A judge could have a particular view on a subject or could adhere to a specific political ideology. But when the judge is delivering justice, the judge should be impartial and wear the glasses of the Indian Constitution,” she said.

AIDWA urged that the comments be withdrawn.

The Indian Christian Association of Tamil Nadu said it was deeply hurt by Justice S. Vaidyanathan’s remarks in the sexual harassment case involving the Madras Christian College.

“The sweeping statement that there is a general feeling among parents that co-educational study in Christian institutions is highly unsafe for the future of their children, especially female students, is based on conjectures and surmises, and the comments [should] be expunged from the judgment,” said Dr. Ravi Santosham, president, Indian Christian Association. “The judge’s statement about compulsory conversions is baseless and totally irrelevant to the merits of the case.”

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 10:26:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/bishops-council-aidwa-concerned-over-judges-remark-on-christian-run-institutions/article29164589.ece

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