Right to religion can take a backseat when right to life is threatened: Madras High Court
Madras High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed for re- opening of temples in state of Tamil Nadu which were closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
A two- judge bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy stating that right to life will take precedence over right to practice religion.
“The right to practice religion is certainly subservient to right to life and when the right to life is threatened, the right to practice religion can take a backseat”, the Court said.
The court further clarified that it usually exercises deference in such cases until there is substantial evidence showing that the decision taken by the state is utterly arbitrary or completely without basis.
As far as the current case is concerned the court said that the state has consulted experts and has took relevant factors like crowding in religious places like temples to impose restrictions on them.
The Tamil Nadu government in a notification dated 28.07.2021 had said that it will look for re- opening of temples after assessing the Covid-19 situation in the area where the temple is located.
The court’s judgement is of significance importance as it provides legal precedence to all high courts and district courts in the country to give primacy to right to life over other rights at a time when the country is grappling with the dangerous Covid-19 virus.
The Madras High Court itself has given other remarkable decisions like quashing the petitions filed for resuming of bus services and re-opening of courts in the state.