Religious Processions Should Spread Positivity/Brotherhood & In No Manner Should Cause Any Communal Disturbance: Madras High Court

25 Feb 2021

Religious Processions Should Spread Positivity/Brotherhood & In No Manner Should Cause Any Communal Disturbance: Madras High Court

A petition seeking the participation of the general public in a ritual called Girivalam, where a procession is carried around a temple, was authorised by the Madras High Court. The petitioner also wanted the general public to engage in a procession that would be carried around a temple in the district of Dindigul. The bench noted that as long as religious processions do not plan to cause neighbourhood disruption and continue to promote positivity and fraternity, permission should be given by law enforcement agencies. The petitioner argued that outside the temple, the District Collector of the Dindigul (respondent 1) prohibited the gathering of more than five people.
The complainant claimed that he had been carrying out this procession for the past 20 years and that he was being confined on unfair grounds. The respondent, the Inspector of Police, argued that members of various Hindu organisations would also be part of the procession, bearing placards and microphone sets, as well as shouting slogans that were opposed by people belonging to the religion of Islam. Rock Fort is their religious site, according to people belonging to the Islamic faith, where they carry on their religious practises such as Namaz and Prayers, while Hindus were preparing to light lamps. Respondents argued that they would have to deploy 600 police officers to monitor such a situation, where Hindu and Islam practise religion on the same location. The bench dismissed the arguments put forward by the respondents and clarified that each individual has the right to conduct religious practises, taking peace, diversity and community harmony into account. The bench also claimed that, through its challenged order of 28.12.2020, it had given permission for this ritual and should be complied with. The bench also noted, however, that the protocol for Covid-19 should be followed and that offensive slogans or gestures should not be carried out.