The Madras High Court has held that no prior permission is needed to conduct prayers in one’s own house without causing disturbance to general public. The order was passed by a single judge bench of the of the HC of Justice P.D. Audikesavalu who ruled held that no prior permission is required by a person to conduct prayers in his own dwelling such that it does not cause any hindrance or disturbance to the general public.
The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by a pastor named C. Joseph with a prayer to quash the notice of the Tahsildar who had directed the petitioner not to conduct prayers till the completion of peace talks. The notice was sent to the petitioner in response to the complaint lodged by the Hindu Munnani Party who had alleged that there was noise pollution in the vicinity on account of prayers conducted in the petitioners premises. Thereafter the regional authorities summoned the petitioner for peace talks after which the Tahsildar sent a notice to the petitioner directing him not to conduct prayers in the premises till the peace talks were over.
The petitioner thereafter filed the instant writ petition challenging the order of the Tahsildar. Justice Audikesavalu while quashing the order of the Tahsildar held that “there is no need to get prior permission from any authority for assembling and conducting prayers in a dwelling place without causing nuisance or disturbance to others and without causing hindrance to the general public. It is the duty of the authorities to safeguard the protection of every citizen of this Country to practise constitutional rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India.”
However in order to ensure that the conduct of prayers in the premises do not cause any disturbance or hindrance to the general public the Court observed that “ the Petitioner is bound to ensure that while conducting such prayers in his residential premises, no hindrance or disturbance is caused to the general public and for that purpose, it is certainly open to the concerned authorities on the basis of subjective satisfaction with concrete evidence to take necessary action under the provisions of the relevant statutes in accordance with law in the event of any nuisance being caused due to noise pollution or for violation of any statutory provisions or for any bonafide reasons.”
–India Legal Bureau
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