Bombay HC restores Good Friday as public holiday in Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu
Mumbai, Apr 16: The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered that the Good Friday be declared a public holiday in some Union Territories (UT): Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli this year.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice N M Jamdar was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Anthony Francisco Duarte.
Arguing their case, the petitioner had said that though there were only 2 % Catholics in the region, secularism wasn't about that but about upholding the sentiments of even the minorities.
The Centre told the court that while there was a cap of 17 holidays in the year, it had no objection if the court were to order that one more day be added.
Anthony Francisco Duarte's petition reportedly said, "This is the first instance in the history of the union territory (UT) that Good Friday has not been notified as a public holiday. Ever since these territories came under the Indian Union, it has always been declared as a public holiday."
It was also argued that the sentiments of the minority community had been outraged. "The Christian community celebrates only three religious holidays; Good Friday, Christmas and Easter, out of which, only two of them have become effective since Easter always falls on a Sunday. Therefore, excluding Good Friday from the list of compulsory holidays is discriminatory," the petition said.
The petition also pointed out that for this year, the authority had granted ten holidays for the Hindu community, out of which two were new. It said that such additions were then made at the cost of Good Friday and Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi.
The court, however, said, "Christmas is celebrated with much bonhomie by all communities. People of all castes, creed and communities commemorate Good Friday... And chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs are eaten and enjoyed by all. Considering the importance of Good Friday for the [Christian] community, the administrator [is directed] to declare it as a public holiday."
Good Friday is celebrated on April 19 and is considered one of the most sacred day for the Christian community after Christmas. The central government has declared it a gazetted national holiday.