Courts Update Delhi HC issues notice on plea by IMA President...

Delhi HC issues notice on plea by IMA President regarding religion

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New Delhi, Jun 14 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court today issued notice on a petition filed by Johnrose Austin Jayalal, National President of Indian Medical Association, challenging the order of the Trial Court, which had directed him not to use the IMA Platform for propagating any religion and to maintain the dignity of position.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Asha Menon noted that the Trial Court Judge has not passed any injunction order against him and that no order under Order 7 Rule 11 has been passed.

“We can’t go beyond what is recorded… the court speaks through its orders,” observed the Bench.

The Counsel appearing for the President of IMA submitted that the entire reading of the order reflects that the appellant seems to have misconducted himself in some manner by promoting Christianity, and that the interview given by the appellant was against secularism and thereby, not in consonance with the Constitution.

He further submitted that these observations against him have impacted his status as the President of IMA, being a representative of more than 3.5 lakh doctors, and are thereby, gravely prejudicial.

The appellant is the present National President of IMA, a society registered to uphold the interest of the medical profession and to promote co-operation amongst the members thereof.

The plea stated that on March 30, 2021, the appellant gave an interview to Christianity Today. It is averred that the said interview was given by the appellant in his personal capacity, expressing his personal view, and that nothing was said against any religion or against Ayurveda or regarding conversion of medical students, doctors and patients to Christianity.

It was further averred that on the same day, a fake news article with the heading ‘In the Name of the Great Physician’ was created, which was alleged to have been published by the website Haggai International, projecting that the appellant had given the interview to Haggai International, whereby it was alleged that the appellant wanted to use his position for Christian Missionary activities.

It was stated further that on May 29, 2021, the respondent herein filed a suit for damages and defamation and for permanent injunction against the appellant on the ground of creating public nuisance and misleading the nation and its citizens.

It wais also alleged in the plea that the said suit before the Trial Court was not maintainable, as it was barred under Articles 19 and 25 of the Constitution and thereby, deserved to be rejected.

It was further alleged that the said suit was based on a news article which was false, and that the respondent herein has no locus standi to maintain the suit as no actual cause of action arose in favour of the respondent herein to sue the defendant.

In light of the above, the appellant filed the present appeal for setting aside the order passed by the Trial Court.

The matter will now be heard on June 16, 2021.

On June 3, 2021, the Delhi District Court at Dwarka, presided by Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Goyal, had observed “Saying Christianity and Allopathy are same and is a gift of western world would be the ‘most inaccurate assertion’… responsibility to act cautiously rests heavily on the shoulder of person, who is having a higher position. Even his casual remarks have great impact on the society.”

He set forth the order by quoting a couplet from Mohd Iqbal, “Majhab Nahi Sikhata Apas Mein Bair Rakhna; Hindi Hai Hum Watan Hai Hindustan Humara; Saare Jahan se Acha Hindustan Humara.”

“The word Hindi in this couplet, written by a Muslim poet, does not refer to Hindus, but is referred to all Hindustanis irrespective of caste, colour and religion, which is the beauty of secularism,” the ASJ had said.

The Trial Court had noted the assurance given by Dr Jayalal that he shall not indulge in such kind of activity.

“He (Dr Jayalal) shall not use the platform of IMA for propagating any religion and rather, shall concentrate for welfare of medical fraternity and progress in medical field,” said the Court and directed him to file a written statement within the stipulated period. ILNS/BG/RJ

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