Association of Concerned Catholics
Constituted under Para 29 of Christifideles Laici
(Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation of H.H.Late Pope John Paul-II)
30th, March, 2011
Most Reverend Cardinal Oswald Gracias,
Archbishop of Mumbai;
It is reliably learnt that today, 30th, of March, 2011; you are going to co-address the press, along with Dr. Abraham Mathai, the two term Vice Chairman of Maharashtra State Minorities Commission. It is believed, this briefing is being held in pursuance of certain members of catholic community questioning him over his statement in the media, on 24th, March, 2011; on the issue of burning of Holy Quran. In this context, there are few questions, which Dr. Mathai needs to answer.
Dr. Mathai condemned the burning of Holy Quran, by a pastor, in Florida, US.
1. Why didn’t he condemn the killing of Pakistan Minorities Minister Mr.S.Bhatti?
2. Why didn’t he denounce the destruction of churches in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan?
3. Why didn’t he denounce the destruction of churches in Egypt?
4. Why didn’t he condemn the killing of Qamar David of Pakistan who was waiting for his appeal to be heard in a blasphemy case and was killed while in jail?
5. Why didn’t he insist on police authorities, to register an FIR, against the offenders, who desecrated Holy Cross at Khar, where he visited on the first day?
Isn’t he representing Christian Interest?
We too feel hurt, Your Eminence, when a religious symbol of any community is destroyed. We are not against Dr, Mathai condemning the Holy Quran. We are hurt over his silence on other issues mentioned above.
We very well understand his dilemma. It is done intentionally to appease the other community, both ways, which is a larger vote bank to the party that has propped him up to this position, and now hoping to be nominated to legislative council. Do not look at it as a political statement; but look at it as a truth.
During his tenure of ten years, as Vice President of Minorities Commission;
1. What has he done for Christian community as whole, and Catholics, in particular?
2. Has the percentage of Catholics increased in the Maharashtra Judicial Services, Police force and government jobs?
3. What is the percentage of finance given to Christians from the Moulana Azad Finance Scheme, meant for the benefit of minorities?
We are sure, Your Eminence, Dr. Mathai has no plausible answers to these questions.
This letter is to put on record, disenchantment of Catholic Community, with Dr. Abraham Mathai.
Yours always, in our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
GREG R. PEREIRA,
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
ORDINARY ORIGINAL CIVIL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (L) NO. 517 OF 2011
THE BOMBAY CATHOLIC SABHA
Through its President
Mr. Gordon D’Souza & Anr. .. PETITIONERS
STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
through its Chief Secretary & Anr. RESPONDENTS
Mr. J. Reis with Mr. N. Engineer for the petitioners
Mr. D. A. Nalawade, GP
Ms. K. R. Punjabi for BMC.
CORAM: SMT. RANJANA DESAI &
RAJESH G. KETKAR, JJ.
The Bombay Catholic Sabha has filed this petition through its
President praying inter alia that appropriate direction be issued to the
respondent-Corporation in respect of declaring a structure legal or
illegal whether if the same is in existence prior to 100 years or2
structures in existence prior to 17/4/1964 or in existence prior to
1/1/1995 and particularly the policy of the State on removal of
religious structures. The petitioner has also prayed that the
respondents be directed not to take action in respect of the notices
issued by them concerning Holy Crosses situate on road, footpath
and other public places within the municipal limits of Greater
2. Our attention is drawn by Mr. Reis, learned counsel for the
petitioners to the order dated 29/9/2009 passed by the Supreme
Court in Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No. 8519 of 2006, where the
Supreme Court has as an interim measure directed that henceforth
no unauthorized construction shall be carried out or permitted in the
name of Temple, Church, Mosque or Gurduwara etc. on public
streets, public parks or other public places etc. The Supreme Court
has further directed that in respect of unauthorized construction of
religious nature which has already taken place, the State
Governments and the Union Territories shall review the same on
case to case basis and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as
3. It appears to us, therefore, that religious structures which are in
existence prior to 29/9/09 have been protected by the Supreme
4. An affidavit is filed by Suresh Ganpatrao Sonawane, Deputy
Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra, Home Department,.
Paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 thereof are important and hence, we quote
“8. I say that pursuant to the said policy laid down by
the Government, the concerned authorities started taking
action of demolition of religious structures. I say that the
Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Mumbai,
however, pointed out to the State Govt. that after the
demolition drive was started, certain organizations as well
as representatives of people pointed out that demolition of
religious structures should be carried out only, if such
religious structures have come into existence after
Supreme Court’s directions and the structures already in
existence prior to that date are required to be spared.
9. I say that considering the likely law and order
problem, the Govt. decided to stay the demolition of
religious structures as ordered vide Government4
Resolution dtd. 4.10.2010. Accordingly, instructions have
been issued to all the authorities vide Govt. Resolution
dtd. 14.3.2011 that action of demolition should be
stopped. In the said G R dtd. 14.3.2011, it has been,
however, clarified that the religious structures should not
be allowed, if it has come up on any public roads, public
parks or public places after 29.9.2009, on which date the
Supreme Court has passed the order and specifically
directed not to allow such religious structures to come up.
I say that in the Govt. Resolution dtd. 14.3.2011, it has
been stated that State Government desires to lay down
specific and proper policy in this regard. Hereto marked
and annexed as Exhibit 2 is the copy of the G R dtd.
10. I say that issue of religious structures involves
sentiments of large number of people and any action to
demolish is likely to create serious law and order problem.
I say that the State Govt. will reconsider the whole issue if
necessary in consultation with religious organizations and
the political parties and take steps to frame appropriate
revised guidelines after considering the directions of the5
Supreme Court and all other relevant factors”.
5. In view of the statement made on oath by the Deputy Secretary
to the Government of Maharashtra, Mr. Reis, learned counsel for the
petitioners seeks permission to withdraw the petition. We permit him
to withdraw the petition.
6. Needless to say that, if the respondent-Corporation decides to
take action in respect of any religious structure which according to
the Corporation are constructed after 29/9/2009 on public streets,
public parks or public places it shall take action in respect thereof in
accordance with law.
7. Needless to say that parties will be at liberty to approach the
court, if need so arises.
8. The petition is disposed of as withdrawn.
(SMT. RANJANA DESAI, J.)
(RAJESH G. KETKAR, J.