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Hindus need to practice tolerance towards other religions: Madras High Court

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One of the basic tenets to be followed by every Hindu is tolerance including towards practices of other religions, the Madras High Court observed last month while upholding the permission granted by district authorities for converting a house into a Church.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice C.V. Karthikeyan said that India is a secular country which takes pride in unity in diversity and recognises freedom of religion.

“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,” the Court said.

Hence, the petitioner who had challenged the decision of the authorities should learn to live with everybody around him, the Court emphasised.

“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. The 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 recognising practice of religion.The petitioner cannot make compliant against the same,” the order stated.

The Court was was hearing a plea challenging the building permission granted by District Collector to run a church.

The petitioner, a Hindu, had raised grievance that it was creating nuisance due to usage of loudspeakers for conducting prayers.

It was further submitted that the petitioner was not heard prior to the permission being granted for the building.

The Court noted that the petitioner had earlier filed a petition against the respondent no.5 (who built the Church) objecting to use of loudspeakers and CCTV cameras facing the petitioner’s house.

In that matter, the respondent had given an undertaking that he would not use loudspeakers. The Court in that matter had also issued a direction to remove or refocus the CCTV cameras.

The Court, however, said that the prayer in the present petition against the building permission cannot be allowed.

“Building permission is issued only to the person, who applies for such permission. The petitioner, being a resident, is not directly involved with the construction. He may have grievances over the activities, which are being conducted or for which the building is put to use,” the Court observed.

It was complained by the Counsel for the petitioner that the Church was built in a residential area.

The Court, however, noted that there is a temple also in that residential area.

“However, it is seen that there is also a temple in that particular residential area. The petitioner should learn to live with everybody else around him,” the Court underscored.

The Court, however, said that it may not be necessary to use loudspeakers for God to hear prayers.

It, therefore, directed the District Collector to impress upon the respondents running the Church to refrain from using loud speakers.

“The District Collector, Kanyakumari District, may by himself/herself or through the Sub Collector, Padmanabhapuram, 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 put forth in loudspeakers for the God to hear.

“Let the fourth respondent also realise his responsibilities and appreciate that liberty has been granted to him to respect the residence in that area. Let the prayers be conducted in a gentle manner,” the Court said.

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