Gauhati High Court Rejects PIL for Prayer Room at Airport

Oct21,2023 #Gauhati HC #PIL #prayer room

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Published on: October 21, 2023 at 16:10 IST

The Gauhati High Court has ruled that individuals cannot demand the establishment of a dedicated prayer room for religious practices at public places like airports.

The decision came in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a petitioner seeking to compel the authorities to create a prayer room at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Kardak Ete dismissed the PIL and emphasized that the rights granted under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution cannot be used to demand a prayer room in a public space like an airport.

The petitioner argued that passengers from various religious backgrounds did not have access to a proper prayer room at Guwahati Airport, despite such facilities being available at other airports across the country.

The petitioner cited Article 25, which guarantees freedom of conscience and the right to freely practice religion, and Article 26, which grants religious denominations the right to establish and maintain institutions for religious purposes.

However, the High Court clarified that while the Constitution provides freedom to practice one’s religion and manage religious affairs, it does not grant the right to demand the establishment of a dedicated prayer room in a public place like an airport.

The Court noted that such decisions should be made by the Government or the Airport Authority of India.

The Court further stated that it is not within the jurisdiction of the High Court to interfere with policy decisions made by the Government. The petitioner was encouraged to approach the relevant authorities with a representation to express their concerns.

Ultimately, the High Court found that the petitioner had not demonstrated that the PIL represented a public cause, and it did not grant the relief sought. As a result, the PIL was dismissed.

Case titled: Rana Saidur Zaman v. The Union of India & Ors.

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