Karnataka HC notice to govt on PIL against church survey | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: The Karnataka high court issued notice to the state government on Monday in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking quashing of the proposed survey of churches in the state, which it said is a bid to persecute the Christian community. The court, however, declined to pass an interim order, saying the government’s response is awaited.
The PIL has been filed by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka. The petitioners challenged the communications/ letters issued by the directorate of minorities, saying the “purported survey” is not only intrusive but also seriously interferes with the fundamental right to privacy of religious minorities in the state. Earlier this month, the legislature panel on backward classes and minorities welfare sought the survey to identify “unauthorised” churches and “check forced religious conversion”.
No urgency to pass interim order, says HC
Various government authorities and deputy commissioners of districts have been instructed to conduct the survey.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi refused to pass an interim order. It the respondents not to take any coercive action pursuant to or under the directorate’s communications. “There is nothing on record to show such an urgency that an interim order is to be passed at this stage,” it said. After a prelude hearing, the bench asked the government to submit statement of objections in three weeks and adjourned the hearing.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Prof Ravivarma Kumar argued that the communication selectively targets the Christian community and seeks to persecute them under the guise of this survey. He told the court that the genesis of the survey is the letter addressed by the MLA from Hosadurga constituency and added that in 2008, a similar circular was withdrawn. The petitioner claimed that the communications issued are illegal, void, discriminatory, unconstitutional and violates the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the constitution.
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Sagar Biswas

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