HC allows Udupi woman to conduct prayers at home with riders

Petition had questioned notice issued to her by police

The High Court of Karnataka has stayed, with conditions, a notice issued by the police to a 70-year-old woman in Kundapura taluk of Udupi district asking her not to conduct any public prayer or preaching at her house sans permission from the police. Justice Krishna S. Dixit passed the interim order on a petition filed by Esthela Louise, a resident of Ganapathi Katte Road in Kundapur, who practices Christian faith.

The petitioner had questioned the legality of notice issued to her on October 26, 2021, by Kundapur Rural police while denying the allegation that she was conducting any public prayers or preaching at her home.

While claiming that she was offering prayers at her home for the past 11 years on select days in a week, she alleged that her fundamental rights were infringed upon as the police were not allowing her to offer prayers at her home since October.

Meanwhile, the court directed the petitioner to ensure that there shall not be a large congregation of people, so that the possible risk of spreading COVID-19 was avoided, and no disturbance or nuisance shall be caused to the neighbours and others by such a congregation nor any scope shall be given for allegations of conversion activities.

While giving liberty to the police to video/audio record the congregation without unnecessarily interfering with the same, the court said its interim order not only stood automatically rescinded in case of violation of the conditions but the authorities may take appropriate legal action against the concerned.

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