Give leave to Christians on Easter, Good Friday: Delhi HC to Centre

The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to grant leave to Christian employees of the Union Finance Ministry on Good Friday and Easter, notwithstanding the notification requiring presence of all staff on both days to help people in depositing their taxes.

The interim order was passed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog on a PIL filed by All India Christian Council secretary-general John Dayal challenging the March 15 notification of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, Department of Revenue.

The Christian community constitutes a mere 2.3 per cent of the population. There should be a balance in matters of faith and the government’s desire to maximise its revenue before the end of the financial year, the court observed.

The Ministry had ordered all staff to work on the two-days to meet the rush of people depositing their tax dues before March 31.

In his plea, the petitioner submitted that Good Friday and Easter, on March 29 and 31 respectively, are two of the most important days in the Christian calendar marking the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The notification was an infringement of the fundamental rights of the minority community enshrined in the Constitution, as also in United Nations declarations which had been signed by India. It prevented the rights of the people to go to church for a congregational worship,” the petitioner contended.He also pointed out the government, in fact, acknowledged the importance of Good Friday by notifying it as a gazetted holiday.

Justice Nandrajog heard the matter in his chambers as there is vacation in the High Court. The court put the matter for further hearing on April 2.

The Christian community had also approached the National Commission for Minorities, apart from having written a letter to the finance minister.

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