Court asks Indian ministry to restore Holy Week holiday for Christians

THRISSUR, India - The Delhi high court asked the Indian government to exempt Christians from working on Good Friday and Easter, after the Ministry of Finance made the two days mandatory work days.

India's financial year runs from April to March; Good Friday, March 29, and Easter, March 31, fall at the end of this fiscal year. Businesses and taxpayers are bound to submit financial statements to the government by the end of the fiscal year.

Amid Christian protests about Finance Ministry workers being forced to work those days, John Dayal, a Catholic and secretary-general of ecumenical All India Christian Council, filed an emergency court petition.

"We are happy that the court has heard our cries," Dayal told Catholic News Service March 26, after the court order.

"The government notification shows total insensitivity of the administration to the minority Christians. The government itself should have exempted Christians from working Good Friday, which is usually a national holiday," said Dayal.

Sundays are regular holidays in India.

"This is a welcome relief for the Christian community," Joseph Dias, secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum of Mumbai, told CNS.

The forum had already submitted an online petition to restore the Holy Week holiday.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 1970