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Updated January 11th, 2024 at 19:36 IST

CJI Chandrachud Visits Dwarkadhish Temple In Gujarat: Why The Controversy?

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud has come under scrutiny after his recent visit to the Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Chief Justice of India Justice DY Chandrachud with family at Dwarkadhish temple (PTI Photo)
Chief Justice of India Justice DY Chandrachud with family at Dwarkadhish temple | Image:(PTI Photo)
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New Delhi: Chief Justice DY Chandrachud has been under scrutiny following his visit to the Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat, where he was seen donning saffron robes. The Chief Justice, during his visit, encouraged district court lawyers to work in a manner that ensures the persistence of the 'flag of justice' for future generations, drawing inspiration from the temple's flags. However, this statement and his temple visit have ignited a fresh debate, with politicians and public commentators expressing criticism towards the Chief Justice. In this article, let's understand, what the controversy is all about.

How The Controversy Started?

The controversy started with CJI Chandrachud's visit to Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat. Later, while addressing a gathering at the inauguration of a new district court building in Gujarat’s Rajkot, CJI Chandrachud said, "Dhwaja (flag) of the Dwarkadheesh temple, which is similar to the one at the temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri in Odisha, has a special meaning for the people from the judicial community. Look at this universality of transition in our nation which binds all of us together. This 'dhwaja' has a special meaning for us, and that meaning which the 'dhwaja' gives us is that there is some unifying force above all of us, as lawyers, judges, and citizens - and that unifying force above all of us, as lawyers, judges, and citizens - and that unifying force is our humanity, which is governed by the rule of law and Constitution of India."

"Beyond the mere physical structure, our building represents a commitment and a promise - a promise that the pursuit of justice within its wall will be characterised by swiftness, accessibility and impartiality," he added.

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CJI's Temple Visit Draws Ire 

Historian and author Ramachandra Guha has remarked on the stark disparity between the principles of the orthodox Hindu tradition and the foundational ideals of India's Constitution. Expressing surprise, Guha underlined that the Chief Justice seems oblivious to this significant gap. Criticising further, Guha said,"Considering the current state of the nation, such actions(Chief Justice's public display of temple visits) by a serving Chief Justice give rise to disconcerting inquiries about his judgment.

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Agreeing with Guha, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan took to X and shared Guha's column published in a leading English daily. "What Gandhi would have made of CJI's publicised visit to Dwarkanath Temple clad in a Saffron robe. Read Ramachandra Guha. "Gandhi himself virtually never went to a Hindu temple. Though Gandhi described himself as a Hindu, his chosen mode of worship was the inter-faith meeting, held on open ground, where Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, Sikhs, Jains and Christians would pray together, with verses of all their scriptures being read. That was his original and deeply moving way of affirming the principle that India belonged to all faiths equally".

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Besides, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also objected to CJI's 'Dhwaja' remark. "For me, the only dhwaja that signifies the unity of all Indians is the Tiranga (tricolour). It is strange to call the symbol of one faith as the symbol of humanity. It is even stranger when such words are uttered by constitutional authorities. Watan-e-Aziz has no religion, it celebrates every religion", Owaisi wrote on X. 

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What Does The Saffron Flag Signify? 

The saffron flag, often associated with Hinduism, holds various meanings depending on the context and the specific cultural or religious group using it. Here are a few common interpretations:

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  • Hinduism: Saffron is considered a sacred and auspicious colour in Hinduism. The saffron flag, also known as the Bhagwa Dhwaja, is often associated with the Hindu dharma and symbolizes purity, spirituality, and the quest for salvation (moksha).
  • Nationalism: In some political contexts, especially in India, the saffron flag has been adopted by nationalist and Hindu nationalist movements. It is often used as a symbol of pride in the Indian cultural and religious identity.
  • Buddhism: Saffron is also significant in Buddhism, where it represents the path of the ascetic and is associated with the robes worn by Buddhist monks. The Buddha himself is often depicted wearing saffron-coloured robes.
  • Sikhs: In Sikhism, saffron holds a place of significance and is one of the colours in the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag. It represents courage and sacrifice.
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Published January 11th, 2024 at 19:31 IST

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