The petition filed by the People’s Union For Civil Liberties states that the order is “devoid of reasons, amounting to discrimination and being violative of the right to privacy of a large section of the population in Karnataka.”

A representative picture of Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai with the background of protests by Hindutva organisation
news Law Sunday, October 24, 2021 - 20:45

The People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), a human rights body in India, has filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court challenging the Legislative House Committee’s directive to conduct a survey of Christian missionary works in the state. On July 7, the Committee Backward Classes and Minorities, headed by BJP MLA Goolihatti Shekhar, had ordered the survey. A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum will hear the petition on Monday, October 25.  

The petition states that the order is “devoid of reasons, amounting to discrimination and being violative of the right to privacy of a large section of the population in the state.” The petition contends that “such an exercise is not rooted in any law authorising the respondents to collate information of such nature.” 

Speaking to TNM, the President of Karnataka Chapter of PUCL, Professor YJ Rajendra, who is the petitioner in this case, questioned the directive and asked, “On what basis has the minorities’ department written to the district officers to identify the churches in the state? There is no Government Order issued on this and the letter does not even state the purpose of such a survey. How can a department go ahead without a GO? We want to know what their purpose is.” 

He said that the people of the state have the right to know what the government will do with the data collected. “Several right-wing organisations have been going after Christian pastors and fathers. If there is any abuse, the victim should file a complaint. How can Bajrang Dal or Vishwa Hindu Parisad attack like this? And we saw the statement of the Chief Minister, which endorses such things. What will you do with the data that you collect? The police have also been asking details from pastors without any order,” Prof Rajendra said. 

Last week, several leaders from the Christian community had objected to the survey, alleging that it is maligning the entire community. A letter addressed to CM Basavaraj Bommai by the Reverend Peter Machado, President of the Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops’ Council, read, “We serve a notice to you through this memorandum that the entire Christian community will not rest until the draconian order of the Backward Classes and Welfare Department order is withdrawn in total.” 

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.