HC expresses concern over 'demeaning' statements on other religions by some persons

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Chennai, Feb 5 (PTI) The Madras High Court on Friday expressed concern over some people making 'demeaning' statements against other religions and observed that 'spewing venom' on other faiths 'defies the very purpose of religion.' The court made the observation while hearing a batch of petitions against evangelist Mohan C Lazarus, facing cases for making controversial remarks against Hindu temples.

Justice N Anand Venkatesh quashed the FIRs and criminal proceedings against Lazarus, after he expressed regret for his statements.

'Unfortunately, in many instances, people get blindly attached to their religious beliefs and tend to make demeaning statements against other religions.' 'People who make such reckless statements think that such statements will make their religious beliefs superior and the beliefs that they demean, inferior,' the judge said.

This was not the purpose of religion and religious faiths, and such acts only offend the religious faith of the concerned persons, he said.

'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,' the judge said.

While secularism in the West is usually taken to be emphasising the separation of the state and religion, Indian secularism stresses equal tolerance of all religions,he said.

Further, as persons capable of influencing large sections of the society that is driven by its religious sentiments, one needs to be extremely cautious and conscientious in exercising their rights, be it one of expression, religion or any other right.

'It cannot be at the cost of injuring the sentiments and rights of other fellow citizens who also form a constituent part of the rich culture and value system that our nation embodies,' the judge said. PTI SA BN ADMINISTRATOR BN ADMINISTRATOR