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Karnataka High Court Allows Christian Woman To Perform Prayers At Her House Subject To Conditions; Allows Police To Video Record

Mustafa Plumber
27 Dec 2021 4:29 AM GMT
Karnataka High Court Allows Christian Woman To Perform Prayers At Her House Subject To Conditions; Allows Police To Video Record
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The Karnataka High Court has by way of an interim order allowed a 70-year old Christian woman staying in Udupi District of Karnataka to perform prayers at her house. A single judge bench of Justice Krishan S Dixit said that, "AGA is requested to accept notice for respondent Nos.1 to 4; issue ad-interim order as prayed for, subject to the following undertaking given by...

The Karnataka High Court has by way of an interim order allowed a 70-year old Christian woman staying in Udupi District of Karnataka to perform prayers at her house.

A single judge bench of Justice Krishan S Dixit said that, "AGA is requested to accept notice for respondent Nos.1 to 4; issue ad-interim order as prayed for, subject to the following undertaking given by the petitioner."

The petitioner has undertaken that, "There shall be not much congregation of the persons offering the prayer, so that the possible risk of spreading COVID-19 or OMICRON is avoided. No disturbance or nuisance shall be caused to the neighbors and others by such congregation nor any scope shall be given for the allegations of conversion activities."

Further, the court in its order dated December 22 said, "If these conditions are violated, not only interim order stands automatically rescinded, but the police and other jurisdictional authorities may take appropriate legal action against the concerned." The court allowed the police to video/audio record the activities of the congregation or celebration, without unnecessarily interfering with the same.

The court clarified that, "The above conditions are imposed to dispel the vehement submission of learned AGA that the area being communally sensitive, the congregation is likely to endanger peace & harmony and endanger law & order problem.

The petition filed through Advocate Maitreyi Krishnan have challenged the notice issued dated 26.10.2021 by the Station House Officer, Kunapura Police Station, Udupi District, stating that the Petitioner has been calling persons from outside her house for prayers and preaching, that she is praying and preaching without a license, and that it is in violation of law to do so without police permission, that public prayers and preaching are in violation of law and she is required to submit relevant documents regarding the issue to the police.

Further the plea states that, "On account of the impugned notice, the Petitioner is not being allowed to offer prayers in her household." It is stated that ,"The impugned notice is in violation of the Petitioner's rights under Articles 14, 15, 21, and 25 of the Constitution, the principle of secularism, and several international legal instruments to which India is bound."

The plea says,"That while the citizens of this country are free to profess, practice and propagate such religion, faith or belief as they choose, so far as the State is concerned, i.e., from the point of view of the State, the religion, faith or belief of a person is immaterial. To it, all are equal and all are entitled to be treated equally."

It adds that, "That the impugned actions are biased and prejudiced and as such violates the secular values of the Constitution."

Case Title: Esthela Louis v. State Of Karnataka

Case No: WP 23423/2021


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