Seeking to downplay the controversy, Justice Dattu said the two-day affair on Friday and Saturday was actually not a 'conference' but a meeting where judges discuss among themselves issues and problems related to the judiciary.     

When asked about the issues raised by Justice Joseph, he termed it as "unfortunate".

"I am the head of the family...if one member questions me, we will settle it ourselves," he told reporters in an informal interaction after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the joint conference of Chief Justice of High Courts and Chief Ministers.

He said as judges do not get time to interact with each other, such meetings are held periodically where important issues are discussed.

He said while all Supreme Court judges are invited, the attendance of top three apex court judges -- the CJI and two senior-most judges in this case Justice T S Thakur and Justice A R Dave -- is mandatory.

The last such event was organised on April 7, 2013.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Justice Joseph had said, "Irrespective of the religion, Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Eid, Bakrid, Christmas, Easter etc. are great days of festival celebrations in the neighbourhood. 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."

"I regret my inability to attend the event as the Conference coincides with the Good Friday ceremonies. Good Friday is a day of great religious significance to us, marking the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ," he had said.

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