Justice Augustine George Masih hails from northern Punjab state and is known for unbiased judgments
Justice Augustine George Masih (right) was administered oath as a judge in India’s Supreme Court by Chief Justice D. Y. Chandrachud on Nov. 9. (Photo: Twitter)
The appointment of a Christian judge in the Supreme Court of India, the top court in the country, has been lauded by members of his minority community.
Justice Augustine George Masih, who was the chief justice of the Rajasthan High Court, was sworn in by India’s Chief Justice D. Y. Chandrachud at the Supreme Court on Nov. 9.
“It is a welcome decision. Justice Masih is known for his unbiased judgments,” A.C. Michael, national coordinator of the United Christian Forum, told UCA News on Nov. 13.
Michael, who is also president of the Federation of Catholic Associations of the Archdiocese of Delhi, said that all Indians looking for justice will benefit from his appointment.
“It is my conviction that religion does not matter when it comes to appointment of a judge or any constitutional authority. What matters is the person’s sincerity and integrity and not his or her faith,” the Catholic lay leader added.
Thomas Franklin Caesar, a lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court called it “good news” as “one of our own has been appointed at the highest level of the judiciary.”
However, the law of the land is above religion, he added.
Caesar, who is an advocate of the rights of Dalits or former untouchables, said that Justice Masih hails from the northern Indian state of Punjab and has vast experience working as a lawyer and judge in the region.
“I believe he will have a better understanding of the poor, downtrodden and voiceless people,” the lawyer said.
Justice Masih was born on March 12, 1963, in Ropar, Punjab. He did his early schooling at St. Mary's Convent School, Kasauli, and then completed his schooling at Saifuddin Tahir High School, Aligarh, in northern Uttar Pradesh state. He is a science graduate and later studied law at the Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh.
Justice Masih began as a lawyer in 1987 in Punjab and Haryana state and later practiced in the Supreme Court for many years. He also held the post of additional advocate general and was appointed an additional judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in July 2008.
He was made chief justice of Rajasthan High Court on May 30, 2023.
Christian judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court in the past and the list includes respected names like Justices Vivian Bose, K. K. Mathew, T. K. Thommen, K. T. Thomas, Vikramjit Sen, Cyriac Joseph, Kurian Joseph, R. Banumathi and K. M. Joseph.
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