NEW DELHI: The controversy over Supreme Court Chief JusticeHL Dattu holding a conference on Good Fridayhas drawn the prime minister into its ambit, with Justice Kurian Josephtaking his complaint to Narendra Modi.Justice Joseph had written to Dattu earlier objecting to the Conference of Chief Justices of High Courts being scheduled on Friday and refused to attend it on the ground that his faith did not allow him to do so. Justice Joseph has followed this up with a letter to the PM, pointing out that no important programmes are held on holidays of religious significance, declining an invitation from Modi for a dinner on Saturday in honour of the visiting judges. "Irrespective of the religion, Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Eid, Bakrid, Christmas, Easter, etc, are great days of festival celebrations in the neighbourhood," Joseph wrote to the PM in the April 1 letter, which ET has reviewed. "Your good self would kindly appreciate that no important programmes are held during sacred and auspicious days of Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Eid, Bakrid, etc, though we have holidays during that period as well." The letter went on to draw Modi's attention to India's secularhistory, saying the country has historically been a "safe haven for those who were prosecuted abroad in the name of religion and communal disharmony", such as Jews and Zoroastrians. "The Zoroastrians who were discriminated and persecuted after the conquest of Iran immigrated to India," Justice Joseph said. "While the religion indigenous to the region collapsed, it flourished and grew here. In fact, India has the largest population of Zoroastrians the world over. The reason this could happen here is that the Indian Hindu rulers of those times not only accepted but protected them." "This history stands testimony to the respect and bonhomie that Indian citizens shared," Justice Joseph wrote to the PM, adding that this is key to the Constitution and the principle of secularism. "The Indian model of secularism is based on the principle of sarva dharma sambhava (equal respect for all religions)... In India, secularism is not a mere passive attitude of religious tolerance but a positive concept of equal treatment of all religions," he said. "The reason for writing this letter, your honour, is that of late the world is in the midst of sectarian and communal violence, and brothers are turning on one another in the name of religion. Even countries of Europe who claim to be the bastion of religious liberalism are entering a period of uncertainty." India needs to safeguard its credentials and be a model for other countries, he said. "I know it is too late to reschedule the events. But being the guardian of Indian secularism, I request your honour to kindly have in mind these concerns while scheduling events and benevolently show equal importance and respect to the sacred days of all religions which are also declared as national holidays. I have shared these concerns with the honourable Chief Justice of India as well," he said. Justice Joseph said he would be at his family home in Kerala. "Good Friday is a day of great religious significance to us, marking the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ," he said. "I regret my inability to attend the event as the conference coincides with the Good Friday ceremonies." 'Erosion of secular principles' Justice Joseph's letter to Chief Justice Dattu also cited concerns about the erosion of secular principles. "Please don't think that I am striking a communal note," he had said. "Only, since I see institutions like ours, which are otherwise bound to protect the secular ethos and project secular image as per mandate of Constitution, are slowly drifting away from the constitutional obligations, I thought of putting this concern in writing." Chief Justice Dattu's response to Justice Joseph said the institution had to be placed above the concerns of individuals. "The question I have to ask myself, perhaps I can't ask you, is whether it is institutional interest or individual interest that one should give preference to. As far as I am concerned I would give priority to former and not to the latter," the CJI told Justice Joseph, expressing shock over a "brother judge" questioning the decision. Earlier, in response to an urgent mention of the matter following an ET report about the conference being held on Good Friday, Chief Justice Dattu said the court's administrative functions had always been held on national holidays to avoid interrupting court work on weekdays. He cited the example of previous biennial conferences held on Independence Day and Valmiki Day to back his claim. The meeting concludes on Sunday after a formal meeting with state chief ministers at which the chief justices' demands, such as more funding and staff, are conveyed to the state governments. Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to attend the concluding session of the three-day conference on Sunday at Vigyan Bhavan. http://t.co/s1xTxmJvdy this morons in judiciary is worrying.