Madras HC Declined Permission For Conducting Christian Prayers: Religious Rights Not Absolute


Madras HC Declined Permission For Conducting Christian Prayers: Religious Rights Not Absolute

Name of the Case

T. Wilson v. The District Collectors and Ors.

Brief Facts

  • A petition was filed before the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution for allowing Christian prayer services.
  • The neighbours of the petitioners had filed a complaint against the practice of the petitioner as a result of which the respondents interfered in the practice.

Contentions Raised

  • The petitioner raised the contention that the complaint raised against him has been made out by the neighbour who harboured communal feelings.
  • The petitioner tried to bring up the importance group prayers for Christianity.

Analysis

  • The prayer meetings were not private rather attendees from other areas also were travelling to attend the prayers.
  • The prayer services were Pentecostal prayer services under the “Word of God Ministries Trust” and imparted using mics and speakers.
  • The Court referred to verses of the Bible and concluded that there is no verse that requires a specific manner of prayer.

Observation of the Court

  • The Court held that the premises should only be used for the purpose of conducting prayer meetings.
  • Also the petitioner has to seek permission according to law if he further wishes for conducting prayer hall services.
  • Rule 4 (3) of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Building Rules, 1997 prescribes for the person to obtain proper permission for conducting such a service.
  • The Court condemned the actions of the petitioner stating that no religion takes a person away from truth so the petitioner being an ardent follower should not have done so.
  • The right to religious practices though is a fundamental right but is not absolute and cannot be used infringing rights of others.

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