Madras High Court judge Justice S Vaidyanathan on Tuesday withdrew his controversial observation that co-education in Christian institutes was "highly unsafe" for the future of girl children.
The controversial remarks were made while rejecting a challenge by a faculty member of Madras Christian College against show-cause notice issued on sexual harassment complaints by students.
In paragraph 32 of the judgment, it was observed :
"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".
These observations were met with wide criticism. Seeking the removal of the remarks causing 'negative stereotyping' of Christian community, a section of lawyers had prepared a representation for submission before the Chief Justice.
Several Christian bodies including the Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council had expressed concern calling the comments "unwarranted" and "without any evidence". Slamming the remarks, the National Minority Commission had issued a statement stating that it was wrong to generalise a community for the actions of some individuals
After the remarks caused a stir, the case was posted on Tuesday under the head 'for mentioning'. The counsel for Madras Christian College submitted that the observations made against the entire class of institutions were unfair. On this, the judge agreed to expunge paragraph 32 of the judgment.
Justice Vaidyanathan had also made observations regarding alleged misuse of women-protection laws and called for protection of 'innocent masculinity'. These will however remain part of the judgment.
"Certain laws, which are in existence for easy access to women, lend itself to easy misuse that women will find it hard to resist the temptation to "teach a lesson" to the male members and will file frivolous and false cases. A similar trend is already being observed in the case of anti-dowry law (498-A), which is being misused to such an extent that the Supreme Court has termed it "Legal Terrorism".
This is the right time for the Government to think of suitable amendment in those laws in order to prevent its misuse so as to safeguard the interest of the innocent masculinity too.", he had said, while ordering that the copy of the judgment should be served to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.
Criticizing the tendency of judges to use court as a platform to air personal views, an advocate of Madras HC had written an article in LiveLaw yesterday.
(With PTI inputs)