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Madras HC: We require tolerance in the direction of different religions | Quashed FIRs towards C Lazarus

Madras High Court elucidated the need to maintain respect and tolerance towards other religious faiths while quashing FIRs registered against Christian evangelist Mohan C Lazarus.

The court quashed the FIRs after the Petitioner put forth an unconditional apology for his conduct and reprimanding him.

FIRs were filed against him under Section 153A, Section 295A, and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code for deliberately hurting the religious sentiments of fellow citizens.

It was held by the court that while exercising a person’s fundamental right to practice, profess, or propagate a religion, it is subjected to reasonable restrictions.

“Spewing venom against another religious faith and developing hatred among the followers of a particular religion against another, defies the very purpose of religion, which is meant to help a human being evolve towards higher truths”

It was submitted that the Petitioner has a large following all across the globe and if that stands to be true then any demeaning statements towards any other religion might invoke hatred amongst people belonging to different faiths.

Any person who holds such an influential position is to carry with caution as they bear a greater responsibility while uttering anything.

The court also emphasized that it is spirituality is not a medium for competition between different religions to establish one’s supremacy over the other.

Indian Constitution promotes secularism as part of the basic structure which is based on equal tolerance towards all religions and faiths unlike anti-religious interpretation of the Western World.

Being intolerant would not only lead to differences amongst the people but as a direct consequence peace and tranquillity of the society will also be disturbed.

The court opined that all influential religious leaders must exercise caution while propagating any religious ideals, it cannot be at the cost of injuring the religious sentiments and rights of other citizens.

It was also observed by the court that misconceptions and extremities in the name of religious practices or beliefs stand to jeopardize the very fabric of our society by inciting hatred and violence.

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