Providing medical service for furtherance of religion is not illegal

Delhi High Court on Tuesday restored to an Indian-American doctor his Overseas Citizen of India card that had been cancelled following the allegation that he was preaching Christianity and carrying out conversions although his stated purpose was to provide medical service in Bihar’s Raxaul town

“The petitioner has a right to practice his faith and his rendering medical service, even if it is for furtherance of his religion, cannot be denied,” Said Justice Vibhu Bakhru of Delhi High court.

Christo Thomas Philip was born in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district in 1982 and completed his primary schooling there. Dr. Philip said along with his family, he had shifted to USA in June, 1992. In May 2008, Dr. Philip completed his M.D. (Doctor in Medicine). In August 2012, he was granted US citizenship. Following this, in December same year, he was registered as an OCI cardholder.

In 2013, he moved to India with his family. In January 2014, he got himself registered with the MCI and since then he has been practicing as a doctor in Duncan Hospital in Raxaul Bihar.

In August 2017, the Consulate General of India (CGI) cancelled his OCI Card after issuing a look out circular to prevent him from entering India. It was contended on behalf of the government that the visa granted to Dr. Philip does not permit to carry out any such activities. However, the respondents have been unable to refer to any law which proscribes an OCI cardholder from carrying out any such activity,” the judge pointed out.

Referring to Article 25 of the Constitution, the judge said: “It is clear from the plain language of Article 25 that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and have the right to profess, practice and propagate religion”. The High Court said Article 25 is not restricted to the citizens of this country but is available to all persons. It also directed the government to ensure that there is no impediment in Dr. Philip entering the country.


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