Chennai: The Madras high court judge, Justice S.Vaidyanathan, on Tuesday deleted his observations against Christian institutions and missionaries, made in an order dated August 13, which triggered a huge controversy.
Justice S.Vaidyanathan had on August 13 made certain observations while dismissing a petition from Samuel Tennyson, an Assistant Professor of Madras Christian College (Autonomous), which sought to quash the “Finding of Fact” report given by the Internal Complaints Committee on the complaint signed by 34 students of Zoology department, alleging sexual harassment against him and one Raveen, and the consequential second show cause notice issued by the MCC.
What the judge had said in Paragraph no. 32 was, “Before parting with the judgment, this court feels it appropriate to point out that Christian missionaries are always on the source of attack in one way or the other and in the present era, there are several accusations against them for indulging in compulsory conversion of people of other religions into Christianity. Now, there is a general feeling amongst the parents of students, especially female students that co-educational study in Christian institutions is highly unsafe for the future of their children and though they impart good education, the preach of morality will be a million dollar question.
As long as a religion is practiced in streets in lieu of its worship places like Temple, Mosque, Church etc., such devastation, as in the present case, does occur and will be mushrooming”.
Deleting those observations in his present order, the judge said it was represented by John Zachariah, counsel appearing on behalf of MCC, that when the order was passed in favour of the college, the observation made in Paragraph no.32 may not be relevant to the present context. The observation is highly detrimental to the interest of the entire Christian Institutions, which are rendering yeoman services to the society and therefore, those observations may be removed/expunged, as the present case does not warrant such observation. He had further represented 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, the judge added.
The judge said "When the court posed a question as to whether the court can remove Paragraph no.32 at this stage in the absence of any review petition - as the court becomes functuous officio after signing of the order - it was replied that there was no request for reviewing the entire order and a particular observation, which was general in nature was sought to be removed. Such removal will not in any way alter the findings/decisions of the court and therefore, there was no bar for this court to remove the Paragraph no.32, which was inapplicable to the present case on hand, especially when those points were not at all urged, canvassed, advanced or discussed by either of the counsel at the time of argument in the open court."
"In view of the above submission and considering the fact that the general observation in Paragraph no.32 has been made by this court after the result portion, which will not at any cost affect efindings/substance/contents of the order, the said Paragraph no. 32 of the order is hereby deleted", the judge added.