The National Council of Churches in India appreciates the timely appeal made by the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum to the Chhattisgarh High Court in restoring their Right to Religion. The NCCI also hails the removal of the ban on Bastar Panchyat by the Chhattisgarh High Court. In times of anti-Christian sentiments, we value this decision made by the High Court in restoring peace and oneness of humankind.
Bastar panchayat ban: HC says right to religion is fundamental
TNN | Oct 15, 2015, 09.23 AM IST
RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh high court has ordered that tribal Bastar region’s panchayat resolution passed last year, imposing ban on non-Hindu religious missionaries, won’t come in the way of exercising fundamental right to preach and propagate religion.
The bench of Justice Manindra Mohan Shrivastava passed the order last week while hearing a writ petition filed by Chhattisgarh Christian Forum and others challenging constitutionality of resolution adopted by panchayat bodies last year banning non-Hindu religious missionaries in their areas. The court order, copy of which was made available on Wednesday, said advocate-general will get three weeks to seek instructions and make appropriate submission on the dispute raised before court.
Advocate general J K Gilda and deputy advocate general R K Gupta appeared for the state while counsel Alok Bakshi appeared for petitioners.
Christian bodies had moved high court in Bilaspur last year after a number of gram panchayats in tribal Bastar region passed resolutions at gram sabha, quoting provisions of Section 129 (G) of Chhattisgarh Panchayat Raj Act, banning “non-Hindu religious propaganda, prayers and speeches in villages”.
The copy of the impugned resolution had stated, “To stop forced conversion by outside religious campaigners and to prevent them from using derogatory language against Hindu deities and customs, Sirisguda gram sabha bans religious activities such as prayers, meetings and propaganda of all non-Hindu religions.”
The petitioners had contended the ban was a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed in Constitution and provisions of Panchayati Raj Act cannot have an overriding effect. They also sought legal action against officials for dereliction of duty for allegedly not acting in accordance with law.
There have been reports few right-wing organizations had motivated local villagers to adopt such a resolution under provisions of Panchayati Raj Act.
Rev. Dr. Atul Arthur,
Secretary, Chhattisgarh Christian Council