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PASTOR I.VINIL SATHISH versus STATE OF TAMIL NADU

High Court of Madras

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Pastor I.Vinil Sathish v. State of Tamil Nadu - W.P.No.39683 of 2005 [2005] RD-TN 836 (9 December 2005)



IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

DATED: 09/12/2005

CORAM

THE HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE P.D.DINAKARAN

W.P.No.39683 of 2005

and W.P.M.P.No.42563 of 2005

Pastor I.Vinil Sathish

President and

Chief Bishop

Full Gospel

Pentecostal Church

Kadamalaikuntu

Kanyakumari District. .. Petitioner -vs-

1. State of Tamil Nadu

Rep. by

the Secy. To Govt.,

Home Department,Fort St.

George, Chennai-9.

2. The District Collector,

Kanyakumar District,

Nagercoil.

3. The Revenue Divisional

Officer,

Padmanabhapuram,

Kanyakumari District.

4. The Inspector of Police,

Manavalakurichi

Police Station,

Mandaikadu, Kanyakumari Dist.

5. The Executive Officer,

Town Panchayat,

Manavalakurichi,

Kanyakumari District. .. Respondents PRAYER: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for issuance of Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus as stated below. For Petitioner : Mr.K.Chandru, S.C.

for Mr.R.Yashod Vardhan

For Respondents : Mr.S.Venkatesh, Spl.G.P. :O R D E R



The prayer in the writ petition is for issuance of a writ of certiorarified mandamus, calling for the records of the third respondent pertaining to his order dated 24.11.2005 in OM A3 10008/2005 and quash the said order and consequently, direct the respondents to forbear from interfering the right of the petitioner in conducting the Full Gospel Pentecostal Church at Door No.10/31B, Madavillai Azhaganparai post, Kanyakumari District.

2.1. The petitioner is the President and Chief Bishop of the Church, viz., Full Gospel Pentecostal Church, which was established in the year 1933. A member of the said church, gifted some lands to the church and some lands were also purchased by the church. Prayer meetings were conducted in the said lands for the last 20 years. According to the petitioner, at the instigation of other religious people, two original suits before the District Munsif cum Judicial Magistrate, Iraniel, were filed by certain persons against the prayer meetings conducted in the church, which were dismissed and in spite of it, aggrieved individuals appealed to the Government and also informed that prior permission from the District Collector, the second respondent herein, should be obtained before conducting any prayer.

2.2. That being so, in the guise of not obtaining prior permission from the District Collector to carry the religious activities of the church, which permission is not necessary, the fourth respondent calling upon a member of the church, obtained a letter forcibly assuring them that the church activities will be stopped and prayer will be conducted only on Sundays. Pursuant to the same, the third respondent by letter dated 24.11.2005 directed to stop the prayer meetings, as it was not approved by the 2nd respondent, which order is being impugned in this writ petition on the ground that in the guise of the said order, the revenue authorities and the police authorites are preventing the petitioner church from holding regular prayer meetings.

3. A Division Bench of this Court, while dealing with the freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion, by an order dated 14.7.2005 made in W.P.No.5202 of 1998 ( Mohamed Gani Vs. The Superintendent of Police, Dindugal District & 4 Others), held as follows:- ".. 13. This is a free, democratic and secular country. In our country people of all religions, castes and communities are equal under the Constitution, vide Articles 14 to 18, and they have a right freely to practice their religion, vide Article 25. This country does not belong to Hindus alone. It belongs equally to Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Sikhs, Jews, etc., and all are equal under the law. Also, it is not that only Hindus can live in this country as first rate citizens while others can live only as second rate citizens. That is not so. In our country, all citizens are, and are entitled to live, as first rate citizens. It is the greatness of our Founding Fathers who made the Constitution that at the time of Independence in 1947 when the sub continent was engulfed in religious madness they insisted that our country shall not be declared as a Hindu State, but shall be a secular State. This was indeed a very difficult thing to do at that time, because when passions are inflamed it is difficult to keep a cool mind. There must have been tremendous pressure on our Founding Fathers to declare India a Hindu State, particularly since Pakistan had declared itself an Islamic State. It is the greatness of our Founding Fathers that they kept a cool mind and resisted these pressures, and provided for a Secular State in India under our Constitution. "

4. On a similar set of facts, when a construction of the church was objected by the District Collector under the pretext that there are no sufficient number of christians in the locality, this Court, applying the decision of the Division Bench of this Court referred to above and in view of the fundamental right guaranteed to the citizens under Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India, by an order dated 3.8.2005 made in W.P.No.16804 of 2003 and 21187 of 2005 (Albert Raj Vs. The District Collector, Kanyakumari District & Others), permitted the construction of the Church, by holding as follows:-

" In view of the fundamental right guaranteed to the citizens under our Constitution, viz., freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion, which right is not restricted or qualified with reference to the number of persons living in a particular locality and applying the decision of the Division Bench of this Court in the order dated 14.7.2005 made in W.P.No.5202 of 1998, I find that the impugned order dated 31.3.2002 passed by the first respondent is illegal, unconstitutional and is therefore liable to be quashed. Hence, W.P.No.16804 of 2003 is allowed and the impugned order dated 31.3.2002 passed by the first respondent is quashed. "

5. Since the question raised in the present writ petition is with reference to the interference by the revenue people and local police with the right of the residents in worshipping in the Church, applying the ratio laid down by the above decision and finding it difficult to sustain any interference by the revenue and police authorities, there shall be a writ as prayed for.

6. Accordingly, the writ petition is allowed. No costs. Consequently, connected W.P.M.P. is closed.

sra

To

1. The Secretary,

Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Home Dept.,

Fort St. George, Chennai-9.

2. The District Collector,

Kanyakumar District, Nagercoil.

3. The Revenue Divisional Officer,

Padmanabhapuram, Kanyakumari District.

4. The Inspector of Police,

Manavalakurichi Police Station,

Mandaikadu, Kanyakumari Dist.

5. The Executive Officer,

Town Panchayat, Manavalakurichi,

Kanyakumari District.




Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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