There Cannot Be Total Ban For Conduct Of Religious Meeting: Madras HC Allows Conference Of Hindu Makkal Katchi
The Madras High Court allowed a Hindu Party named Indu Makkal Katchi-Tamizhagam’s Conference which was to be held on January 29. The Court said that there cannot be a total ban on the conduct of a religious meeting.
The writ petition was filed against the order of the Police Inspector to quash the same directing to give permission to the petitioner to conduct State Conference and provide adequate police protection to the participants of the conference.
A Single Bench of Justice G. Chandrasekharan held, “… there can be no total ban for the conduct of religious meeting organized by the petitioner. It is seen from the records that already permission was granted by the Commissioner of Corporation, Cuddalore for the conference at Manjakuppam Ground, Cuddalore. … permission was cancelled after the Superintendent of Police, Cuddalore had rejected the permission and also for not getting No Objection Certificates from other Departments.”
The Bench also referred to Article 25 of the Constitution which gives freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion.
Advocate S. Mayilnathan appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Government Advocate S. Santhosh appeared for the respondents.
Facts of the Case –
The petitioner decided to conduct a State Conference of Indu Makkal Katchi – Tamizhagam on January 29 at Manjakuppam Ground, Cuddalore. It was decided to conduct a procession at 3 P.M. The Commissioner, Cuddalore Corporation granted permission to conduct the said conference and in this regard, the petitioner paid Rs.8,000/-.
The permission granted by the Commissioner, Cuddalore was subject to permission to be granted by the other wings of the Government. The petitioner, therefore, applied for Police permission but the same got rejected. Hence, the matter was before the High Court.
The High Court after hearing the contentions of counsel observed, “… this Court is of the view that permission may be granted to the petitioner for conduct of conference on 29.01.2023 at Manjakuppam Ground, Cuddalore at 03.00.P.M to 10.00.P.M., subject to necessary and appropriate conditions.”
However, the Court directed that it is not inclined to grant permission to the procession requested by the petitioner considering the fact that there was every possibility of facing traffic hazards by the general public and anti-social elements may also infiltrate the same causing law and order problems.
“Permission is granted only for conducting the conference from 3 PM to 10 PM on 29.01.2023 at Manjakuppam Ground, Cuddalore”, the Court further directed.
It was also asserted by the Court that the other authorities concerned are directed to give appropriate permission on filing necessary application subject to some conditions.
“During the program, nobody shall either sing songs or speak ill on any individuals, any caste, religion, etc. … Those who participate in the program shall not for any reason talk or express anything in favour of organizations banned by the Government of India. … The organizer(s) shall make adequate arrangements for drinking water and proper First Aid/Ambulance/Mobile Toilets/CCTV Cameras/Fire Fighting equipments etc., in consultation with the Police/Civic/Local Bodies as directed by the police”, the Court said.
Accordingly, the Court disposed of the petition.
Cause Title- R.S. Deva Alias Kamadevan v. The Home Secretary & Ors.
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