High Court in India Rules Against Religious Intolerance
05/12/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to the Times Now News, the Madras High Court has ruled against religious intolerance, claiming it is not good for a secular country like India. This important ruling for religious freedom comes only a month after the Supreme Court of India ruled that persons above the age of 18 are free to choose the religion of their choice, rejected a petition calling for a nationwide law banning religious conversions.
The Madras High Court made these important remarks while hearing an appeal regarding temple processions by Hindu villagers objected to by Muslims in V Kalathur, located in the Perambalur district of Tamil Nadu. According to the appeal, the Hindu villagers conducted temple processions in Muslim-majority areas, which local Muslims found objectionable.
Ruling against the argument that the Muslims could object to the practices of other religious groups, the Madras High Court stated, “Merely because one religious group is dominating in a particular locality, it cannot be grounds to prohibit from celebrating religious festivals or taking procession of other religious groups through those roads.”
“If religious intolerance is going to be allowed, it is not good for a secular country,” the court continued. “Intolerance in any form by any religious group has to be curtailed and prohibited.”
“India is a secular country and merely because one religious group is living in the majority in a particular area, it cannot be a reason for not allowing other religious festivals or processions through that area,” the court reasoned. “If the contention of the private respondent is to be accepted, then it would create a situation in which minority people cannot conduct any festival or procession in most of the areas in India.”
While the court’s ruling ultimately found against a religious minority community, the implications of this ruling for religious minorities in India is huge. Radical Hindu nationalists often make the claim that India is a Hindu-majority nation and religious minorities, particularly Christians and Muslims, have no right to worship in India. This ruling by the Madras High Court directly contradicts that claim, solidifying the rights of religious minorities to exist and freely practice their beliefs in India.
This important ruling comes only a month after the Supreme Court of India rejected a petition to enact a nationwide anti-conversion law. In that ruling, the Supreme Court held that all persons over the age of 18 have the right to choose the religious of their choice. Taken together, these rulings help solidify the rights of religious minorities in India.
However, it remains to be seen if these religious freedom rights, so vocally protected by judges in India, are protected by local authorities. In many cases, radical Hindu nationalists enjoy near complete impunity for their anti-minority activities, curtailing the religious freedom rights of many minority communities.
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