The Supreme Court on Monday restrained all courts across the country from passing any judicial order that might end up facilitating construction of unauthorised religious structures on public land.
A bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice A.K. Patnaik cautioned the courts against inadvertently passing any order in aid of such construction, after a plea by Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium.
Subramanium expressed concern over the prospect of judicial orders by lower courts, frustrating the apex court's Sep 29 order banning all new unauthorised construction of religious sites on public land.
Appearing for the central government, Subramanium told the court that its Sep 29 order halting any more such constructions could get frustrated if any court entertained a plea related to the matter.
"Looking at the gravity of the matter, we direct that no order that is inconsistent with our order would be passed by any court in the country," the bench said in response to his plea.
The apex court's order had put the onus of allowing no new unauthorised construction of religious places on public land on the chief secretaries of all the states and union territories.
The court had asked the states to deal with existing structures on individual, case-to-case basis after hearing the parties concerned.
The court had also sought the response of all the states and union territories as to how they intended to implement its order.
Except Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya, none of the states have filed their response by now.
The chief secretaries have been given four weeks time to formulate a policy to deal with existing constructions, and an affidavit furnishing information of how the states have complied with the apex court order has to be submitted before Jan 27, 2010.
"Any breach of our orders would be viewed very seriously," the bench said while fixing Feb 4, 2010 as the next date of hearing in the case.