Justice Abhay S Oka Advocates Ending Religious Rituals in Courts to Promote Secularism


As India's Constitution approaches its 75th anniversary, Supreme Court Justice Abhay S Oka has advocated for the cessation of religious rituals during court events, emphasizing the need to promote the secular principles enshrined in the Constitution.

Speaking at a foundation laying event for a new court building in Pune District, Justice Oka proposed a shift from traditional pooja-archana ceremonies to commencing court programs by bowing down to an image of the Preamble of the Constitution. He urged, "When the Constitution completes 75 years, to maintain its dignity, we should start this new practice."

Highlighting the importance of the terms 'secular' and 'democratic' in the preamble, Justice Oka emphasized that the Constitution, designed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, stands as an ideal framework where secularism is integral. He remarked, "The Constitution has completed 75 years. Dr. Ambedkar has given us an ideal Constitution in which secularism finds a mention. Our court system may have been created by the British, but it is run by our Constitution."

Reflecting on his attempts to minimize religious practices during his tenure as Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Justice Oka acknowledged the challenges in eliminating them. However, he expressed optimism that the 75th anniversary of the Constitution serves as an opportune moment to reinforce the principles of secularism in the judicial system.

"Sometimes judges have to say unpleasant things. I am going to say something a little unpleasant. I think we must stop pooja-archana during programs in courts. Instead, we should keep an image of the Preamble of the Constitution and bow down to it to commence a program," he concluded.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer, MIT ADT University