Tamil Diplomat

IAS officer’s legal threat after Tamil Nadu bans him from holding religious meets

Claiming that the government is eluding him from his fundamental right to profess, practice or propagate any religion, IAS officer C Umashankar is taking on the Tamil Nadu government by asking him not to preach Christianity. Pulling up the IAS officer, the Tamil Nadu government has said that he was misusing his position as a civil servant to promote Christianity and such activities are likely to cause communal disharmony and disturb public order. The state government has banned the IAS officer from attending religious meets for allegedly propagating Christianity during three different meetings in a month.

Asserting that everybody in the country has a right to profess and propagate a religion of his or her choice, the officer said, “The state government order asking me not to preach Jesus Christ is illegal and unconstitutional but I have complied with the directive. I have cancelled 7 meetings till yesterday and this week again I am cancelling. I go and preach in churches. Where is there a problem with others? Where does it affect their rights? They have restricted my individual freedom, my rights.”

While the officer has cancelled all future public appearances, he has said he will move court against the directive. “Because of the false reporting of the police, the SP, the government has issued this letter. I’m going to clarify the letter but I have serious doubts. So, I’m going to challenge it before the HC or the SC as the case maybe,” he said. Umashankar, a Dalit who converted to Christianity, has been holding prayer meetings and preaching for several years.

Under the Constitution, public servants are entitled in their private lives to profess, practice or propagate any religion freely. But they should leave no room for an impression in their public conduct that they are likely to favour persons belonging to any particular religion. This impression is bound to rise if a public servant participates in bringing about or organising conversions from one religion to another.

According to the Constitution, such conduct would be even more reprehensible if, in the process, he makes use, directly or indirectly, of his official position or influence. Though there’s no specific provision, participation in proselytising activities may be treated as good and sufficient reason for taking disciplinary action against a member-(IBIN News).