Vadodara District Judge J C Doshi has asked the local bar association not to allow any kind of religious activity on the court premises, saying it violates “principles of secularism”. Doshi stated this in a letter to Baroda Bar Association president Nalin Patel, after two rooms in the newly-constructed court building were opened to allow Muslim lawyers to offer namaaz. “As the judiciary represents the Indian state, showcasing the symbology of one particular religion amounts to violating the principle of secularism,” Doshi said in the letter, which was shared with media by Patel.
Earlier, Kedar Biniwale, secretary of the BBA, had provided two rooms to Muslim lawyers for offering prayers during the ongoing month of Ramazan, which some members of the association had opposed. Biniwale argued that there was no mosque nearby where Muslim lawyers could offer prayers. However, judge Doshi said in the letter that India is a secular country, and “fundamental rights make it a constitutional mandate for the state not to discriminate on the basis of religion”.
“Premises of court and government buildings can not be allowed to be used for conducting such religious activities,” the letter said, adding that members should refrain from conducting any religious activity on the court premises.