Madras High Court has ruled that a Hindu individual's act of not conducting prayers in a room specified for the purpose cannot be considered as a ground to declare that the person is not a Hindu.
A division bench comprising Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and K Ravichandrababu stated on Thursday this while quashing an order for cancelling a community certificate issued to a Dalit panchayat president who reconverted from Christianity.
The court concurred with Panchayat President Vasikaran's counsel that officials who submitted a report after visiting his client's house had incorrectly concluded no pooja was done as there was no evidence to the effect in the pooja room.
Vasikaran was elected as President of Gerugambakkam Panchayat (reserved). His rival who lost the October 2011 local body polls moved the State Election Commission, seeking cancellation of the Dalit certificate claiming that as he was a Christian.
The matter was referred to Revenue officials. The Village Administrative Officer and Revenue Divisional Officer inspected the home and submitted a report stating that though there were photographs of Hindu Deities, there was no evidence of pooja being performed by Vasikaran in his house.
They also said that they found some verses from Bible and a cross inscribed in the house and recommended cancellation of Dalit certificate.
Vasikaran then filed a petition stating that the Collector had sent notices in the name of K Victor, his name when he was Christian. He said he has converted to Hinduism in a ceremony by Arya Samaj at Chennai, which had also issued him a certificate.
He submitted that he polled more than 2600 votes, which would prove he was accepted by his community.
The court noted Vasikaran was described as Dalit in his school certificate in 1989 and Sriperumbudur Tahsildar also gave a community certificate in 1996. His rivals had not raked up the caste issue before the poll, the court said and allowed the petition.