High Court Slams Cops’ “Week-Kneed Approach” Over Unhealthy Religious Acts
The contention that animal sacrifice is an essential and integral part of one’s religious belief and cannot be interfered with even if it causes nuisance to others, has to be rejected, the Kerala High Court has said.
Hearing a writ petition against the inaction of the authorities to stop the illegal slaughter of birds and animals in the guise of ritualistic sacrifice at a private residence in Kochi, Justice V Arun said such unhealthy, unscientific and deleterious practices are to be prevented, even if it is done in the name of religion.
The court, in an order issued on May 24, directed the Ernakulam district panchayat, the revenue divisional officer, Ernakulam Rural SP and other officials to stop the activities carried out in a structure, resembling a temple, constructed by a private person on the second floor of his residential building, after conducting a probe, at Edathala Grama panchayat near Aluva in Kohi.
“Going by the precedents and on a proper understanding of the rights under Article 25 and the liberty guaranteed under Article 21, the contention that, animal sacrifice being an essential and integral part of the 8th respondent’s religious belief and practice, cannot be interfered with even if it causes nuisance to others, has to be rejected,” the court said.
As opined by none other than Dr BR Ambedkar, true religious practice should be guided by reason, equality and humanistic values, rather than blind adherence to traditions, the court added.
“All unhealthy, unscientific and deleterious practices are to be prevented, even if it is done in the name of religion,” the order said.
The court observed that it was disconcerting to note the “weak-kneed and jittery approach of the police and revenue authorities” when illegalities committed under the garb of religion are brought to their notice.
“The authorities should be mindful of the fact that the laws of this country are equally applicable to all citizens and no special treatment can be meted out to any person on religious grounds,” the court observed.
The writ petition said that objectionable activities are carried out in a structure, resembling a temple, constructed by Anand P on the second floor of his residential building and has exhibited a board with the name ‘Sree Bhramarambika Vishnumayaswami Devasthanam’ and is canvassing devotees through notices and other modes of advertisement.
The petition also said that Anand was conducting poojas and rituals in his building day-in and day-out, accompanied by the ringing of bells, blowing of the conch and shrieks and cries of animals and birds.
“The blood of the slaughtered animals is flown to the road and carcasses are strewn all over the place. Additionally, vehicles of persons visiting the place for conducting poojas and rituals are parked indiscriminately. All these factors have made life impossible for me (petitioner) and the other residents of the area,” the petitioner claimed.
It also said that the construction was illegal and it was done without obtaining the permission envisaged under the Kerala Panchayat Building Rules.
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