Madras High Court: C.V. Karthikeyan, J., expressed that, “One of the basic tenets to be followed by every Hindu is tolerance. Tolerance must be his own community or religion and in particular, to also to every other religious practice.”

“Fundamental Rights and Duties are sacrosanct and binding on the Courts which adjudicate issues relating to the religion.”

Present petition was filed in the nature of Certiorari calling for the records of the impugned order passed by the first respondent and the consequential proceedings passed by the fourth respondent.

Noting that he was a Hindu, Court added that one of the basic tenets to be followed by every Hindu is tolerance and tolerance must be his own community or religion and in particular, to also to every other religious practice.

Petitioner raised objections against the fifth respondent who had apparently built a church, which in petitioner’s view caused nuisance because the respondent conducted prayers using loudspeakers throughout day and night.

Further, the petition was pending wherein the petitioner claimed to direct the first and second respondents and the Inspector of Police to ensure that the third to sixth respondents who were private individuals cannot use their house for prayer purposes by using loudspeakers and to remove the CCTV cameras put by the respondents in their house facing the house of the petitioner.

The above-said petition was disposed of based on the fifth respondent’s undertaking that he would not use loudspeakers.

In the instant petition, the grievance revolved around the approval granted by the first respondent with regard to building permission for the church. The petitioner being a resident was not directly involved with the construction. He may have grievances over the activities which were being conducted or for which the building was put to use.

Petitioner’s counsel complained that the building or now the church, was in the residential area, however, it was seen that there was also a temple in that residential area.

High Court remarked that,

“The petitioner should learn to live with everybody else around him. This country takes the pride in unity in diversity. There cannot be diversity in unity.” 

“Petitioner should accept the group of people living across and around with him and he should also accept that people of various faith and various caste, creed and religion and given rights under the constitution. The country is a secular country recognizing practice of religion.”

Further, the Bench observed that District Collector may by himself/herself have a meeting with the fourth respondent and impress upon the fifth respondent that it is only prudent to be restrained and it is not required that a prayer should be put forth in loudspeakers for the God to hear.

Lastly, the Bench stated that let the fourth respondent realize his responsibilities and appreciate that liberty had been granted to him to respect the residents in that area.

Hence, if the first respondent/District Collector either by himself/herself were to impress upon the fifth respondent to practice tolerance and respect, the Court was confident that sense and sensibility would prevail over pride and prejudice.

In view of the above, the petition was disposed of. [Paulraj v. District Collector, WP (MD) No. 1276 of 2020, decided on 10-1-2022]

Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr C.Kishore

For R1 to R4: Mr N.Satheesh Kumar, Additional Government Pleader

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