A photo of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana joining Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to light a lamp to ‘pay tribute to Maa Saraswati’ ahead of a public seminar has triggered a debate on the judiciary’s secular role amidst the hijab ban in Karnataka.
CJI Ramana was a chief guest at a national seminar on Adjudication of IPR Disputes in India. Also joining him was Delhi High Court Chief Justice DN Patel. Livelaw shared a photo of CJI Ramana and Sitharaman lighting a lamp in accordance with the Hindu religious practice before the start of the seminar.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) February 26, 2022
The photo of India’s chief justice joining Sitharaman, also a BJP politician, in taking part in a religious ritual followed by Hindus became controversial. Many were quick to call the act ‘hypocritical’ in light of the Karnataka High Court banning Muslim girls from wearing hijab in its interim order.
Journalist Dilip Mandal shared the photo to write, “Indian model of majoritarian hegemonic secularism!”
This is how others reacted on Twitter;
— Md Tousif (@MdTousi54071392) February 26, 2022
Hindu milords from hindu courts want only hinduism to be practiced.
and call it ‘uniformity’ https://t.co/SYmMGAYuxj
— Friendlass (@___VintageSoul) February 26, 2022
Dear @CourtKarnataka @LiveLawIndia in case if u can see, this is also common practice across India, while I respect it as a culture, but before u make a decision on #HijabBan, just look at the picture and think about it, don't u think it should be considered during ur judgement. https://t.co/UWB1jSdaFF
— Wall-E???? (@BeingWali) February 26, 2022
Judiciary is involved in this secular act? https://t.co/K784L1fgy5
— Frostyy♡ (@muskurahat_hu) February 26, 2022
Such a "secular" practice. https://t.co/IGooejvEIT
— Deepti Dama (@YoungLadyBright) February 26, 2022
Speaking at the event, CJI Ramana said that the Indian judiciary was ‘absolutely independent and always treats all parties equally and equitably.’