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Restricting use of public places for religious purpose: Will Gehlot govt respect HC order?

By Kavita Srivastava* 

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, has welcomed the judgment of the Rajasthan High Court dismissing the petition by Pooja Gurnani which challenged a circular of the Rajasthan government which restrained the construction of a ‘Pooja Sthal’ in the premises of a police station.
The judgment delivered by Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Rekha Borana upheld the right of the state to maintain public places as secular places in accordance with the mandate of the Rajasthan Religious Building and Places Act, 1954 which was meant to ‘restrict the use of public places for religious purposes’.
The petitioner by challenging the constitutionality of the circular issued under the Act was in effect saying that the state had no power to ensure that its organs and instrumentalities, including the police functioned in accordance with the Preambular mandate of secularism.
The insidious agenda of the petitioner was to legitimize and promote the conversion of public places like police stations into places which offer worship to deities from one religion alone, thereby making a mockery of the promise of non-discrimination on grounds of religion. This would have been a direct affront to the idea of Indian as a secular democracy which is founded on the values of the Constitution.
By dismissing the petition the Court has in effect upheld the power of the state to ensure that India remains a constitutional democracy rather than become a majoritarian democracy.
The PUCL hopes that the Gehlot government continues to fulfill its constitutional mandate without fear and favour and upholds the secular vision encoded in the Preamble.
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*President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan

Comments

bernard kohn said…
A great decision.....
more like this one and India might be coming back on the correct track....
bernardk

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