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Thursday, May 6, 2021

‘Religious rights are not unlimited’: High court mandates administrative permission for Christian prayer meeting at home

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The Madras High Court has said in a judgment that religious rights are also not unlimited. With this, the court dismissed the petition on Thursday (29 April 2021) challenging the order of the District Collector of Kanyakumari.

The District Collector had prohibited the holding of Christian prayer meetings in the house. It was challenged by T. Wilson. High Court Justice N Anand Venkatesh of the Madurai Bench of KP said that Wilson was not conducting private prayers in his home. The people were mobilizing and conducting prayer meetings, for which the permission of the district administration is required.

The petitioner had alleged that a false complaint was made about his personal prayers, hurting communal harmony. The District Collector produced photographs and other evidence in front of the court which revealed that a prayer meeting was held regularly at Wilson’s house from 9 a.m. to 12 noon by the Christian Religious Trust. During this time speakers and microphones were also used. Wilson’s neighbors complained to the district administration about the problems caused by this.

Wilson made it private Prayer meeting Stating that he had approached the court in 2016. Justice Venkatesh said that religious rights also cannot be claimed to be unlimited. If it affects the rights of others, it is necessary to obtain the necessary permission for this. He also cited biblical references to previous court decisions and prayers during the hearing.

The court said, “In the guise of prayer, the petitioners were actually constructing the prayer hall for the fulfillment of religious purposes. Truth is the basis of any religious belief and no religion tolerates any act that leads a person away from the truth. In the present case, the petitioner who claims to be a devout Christian is far from the truth. ” The court said that the petitioner should have obtained permission from the District Collector under Rule 4 (3) of Tamil Nadu Panchayat Bhawan Rules, 1997 for such public prayer.

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