This is a story that’s 60 years old. On May 27th 1953, an atheist claimed he will break idols of Lord Ganesha, whom Hindus hold with reverence, in public. The atheist goes ahead, makes a fine speech, breaks the idol. An hurt Devotee, made a police complaint. The atheist developed cold feet. Claimed that it was only a clay idol and not a sacrosanct idol in a temple, The case went to Supreme Court. The atheist lost his case when the 3 member bench held:
An object may be held sacred by a class of persons without being worshipped by them. It is clear, therefore, that the courts below were rather cynical in so lightly brushing aside the religious susceptibilities of that class of persons to which the complainant claims to belong. The section has been intended to respect the religious susceptibilities of persons of different religious persuasions or creeds. Courts have got to be very circumspect in such matters, and to pay due regard to the feelings and religious emotions of different classes of persons with different beliefs, irrespective of the consideration whether or not they share those beliefs, or whether they are rational or otherwise, in the opinion of the court.
Because by the time this case came to SC, it was 5 years and as at each intermediate stage the State Government and Court had freed the Atheist, the SC said it was not worth raking old wounds.
The Name of the Atheist is E V Ramaswamy Naicker.
You can read the case here: http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/165707/