Delhi High Court yesterday expanded the scope of Article 25 of the Constitution of India by stating that Missionary Activities are not prohibited in India as rights under Article 25 while deciding a case. The court largely referred the judgment on Commissioner of Police and Ors. Vs. Acharya Jagadishwarananda Avadhuta which took the view that the right under Article 25 is not confined to citizens alone, but covers all persons residing in India.

Article 25 guarantees the freedom to follow any religion and propagate it, with a reasonable restriction to ensure that the public order, morality and health are not compromised in the process. Previously, there have been many judgments confirming the scope of Article in coherence with the applied reasonable and non-arbitrary restrictions.

In this case Court instead of taking a narrow view on the availability of the right to individuals gave a wider scope and found that a person has a right to practice his faith and his rendering medical service, even if it is for the furtherance of his religion, cannot be denied. The Court also added that the assumption that missionary activities are against the law of the land, is fundamentally flawed. The Court also observed that is no material to hold that the Doctor was indulging in conversion activities or any of the activities has led to public unrest and law and order problems.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru further stated that it has perhaps escaped their attention that India is a secular country. All persons in this country have a right to practice their faith in the manner they consider fit so long as it does not offend any other person. If the petitioner’s faith motivates the petitioner to volunteer for medical services at a hospital, there is no law (certainly not of this land) that proscribes him from doing so.

Earlier, in many instances, Indian judiciary has confirmed the sanctity of Article and the protection it guarantees without giving it the colour of conflicting human self-interests or will. It majorly found that every person has right to follow their religion in a way that does not affect others human or legal rights. This is what the abovementioned Article protects and not the arbitrary whims of individuals about their religion.


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