Right to carry out religious event not absolute, rules HC - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Right to carry out religious event not absolute, rules HC

Right to carry out religious event not absolute, rules HC

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the right to carry out a religious procession or to oversee religious congregation on public land or property was not absolute. The Bench also made it clear that the recording of statements of just two or three persons was not enough to elicit the sentiments of the public on holding religious congregation.

“Needless to observe that the police official concerned would have been well-advised to record statements of at least 10-15 residents of a village so as to elicit their sentiments,” Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa asserted.

The assertions came during the hearing of a petition by Avtar Singh seeking permission for performing a function by erecting a stage and using loudspeakers at the dargah of Peer Baba Ahmed Shah Jalani in Aliwal village of Ludhiana district.

His counsel submitted that a religious function was annually held at the dargah by the devotees, in which residents of Aliwal village and surroundings areas participated. He added a report clearly stated that the local police had no objection in granting permission. Yet, nod to hold the function was not accorded.

It was added that sarpanch Yadwinder Singh was holding a function at the village cremation ground; and he could not enjoy monopoly regarding holding of religious congregation. The counsel added the authorities had permitted the sarpanch to go ahead only “on account of the fact that he owes his allegiance to the ruling political party in the state”.

Quoting a Supreme Court judgment, he contended right to conduct religious processions and hold religious functions on public property was a right inherent in every person, provided he did not invade the right of property enjoyed by others or cause a public nuisance.

The Bench concluded: “The state counsel has demonstrated that granting permission to the petitioner, an ex-sarpanch, might create a situation of two warring factions coming to a head and thereby taking an ugly twist. In an overview of the matter, this court is of the considered view that no intervention is called for. Petition dismissed”.

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