Supreme Court sets aside Madhya Pradesh HC order denying permission for Christian prayer meet

The Supreme Court today granted permission for a Christian community prayer to be held as scheduled today at Indore, Madhya Pradesh. A bench comprising Justice BR Gavai, Justice Satish Chandra and Justice Sandeep Mehta set aside the orders of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the district administration in this regard. 

The court observed that prima facie the revocation of the permission which was granted in favour of the petitioner of holding the prayer meeting is not justified. It added that the permission which was granted vide order dated March 22 and revised on April 5 specified various conditions so as to safeguard the interest of all stakeholders and also to ascertain that no law and order situation would arise. The bench noted that in the aforestated circumstances, the revocation of permission was not justified in their view.

Initially, on April 5, the permission to hold the meeting was granted by the Officer of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Bicholi Hapsi. Beside, the order also indicated the compliance of 27 conditions.

Later, on April 7, the same was revoked, mentioning apprehensions of disruption of law and order situation. According to the petitioner’s stance, the order was passed after several Hindu and other social organizations complained to the competent authority in this regard.

When the judgment was challenged before the High Court, the same was dismissed by Justice Subodh Abhyankar. The High Court held that the court is of the considered opinion that it might be true that the intention of the petitioner to convene such meeting must be purely religious in nature, however, the concern raised by the respondents can also not be said to be unfounded, looking to the various objections they have received from other religious organizations. 

The High Court further added that in such circumstances, the possibility of apprehension raised by the respondents of disruption of law and order situation can also not be said to be unsubstantiated.

The apex court today allowed the aforesaid meeting while making it clear that the earlier conditions as imposed by the competent authority shall be adhered to.

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