The argument that animal sacrifice is an essential and integral part of one’s religious belief and cannot be interfered with even if it causes inconvenience to others must be rejected, the Kerala High Court said.
Hearing a written petition against the authorities’ inaction to stop the illegal killing of birds and animals under the pretext of ritual slaughter at a private residence in Kochi, Judge V Arun said such harmful, unscientific and unhealthy practices they should be prevented, even if done in the name of religion.
The court, in an order issued on 24 May, ordered the Ernakulam District Panchayat, Revenue Division Officer, Ernakulam Rural SP and other officials to stop activities in a temple-like structure built by an individual on the second floor of his residential building, after conducting an investigation, at Edathala Grama panchayat near Aluva in Kohi.
“Based on precedent and with a proper understanding of the rights under article 25 and the freedom guaranteed under article 21, the assertion that, animal sacrifice being an essential and integral part of the religious beliefs and practices of the eighth defendant, it cannot be interfered with even if it causes inconvenience to others, it has to be rejected,” the court said.
In the opinion of none other than Dr. BR Ambedkar, true religious practice should be guided by reason, equality and humanistic values, rather than blind adherence to traditions, the court added.
“All harmful, unscientific and harmful practices must be prevented, even if done in the name of religion,” the order said.
The court noted that it was disconcerting to observe the “weak and nervous approach of police and tax authorities” when brought to their attention for illegalities committed under the cloak of religion.
“Authorities must take into account the fact that the laws of this country are equally applicable to all citizens and special treatment cannot be accorded to any person for religious reasons,” the court observed.
The written petition said that objectionable activities are carried out in a structure, resembling a temple, built by Anand P on the second floor of his residential building and has displayed a board with the name ‘Sree Bhramarambika Vishnumayaswami Devasthanam’ and he is canvassing the devotees through advertisements. and other modes of advertising.
The petition also said that Anand was performing poojas and rituals in his building day after day, accompanied by the sound of bells, the sound of conch shells, and the shrieks and cries of animals and birds.
“The blood of the slaughtered animals is thrown on the road and the corpses are scattered all over the place. Also, the vehicles of the people who visit the place to perform poojas and rituals are parked indiscriminately. All these factors have made my life Impossible (petitioner) and the other residents of the area,” stated the petitioner.
He also said that the construction was illegal and was done without obtaining permission under the Kerala Panchayat Building Regulations.
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