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Get rid of illegal shrines: SC to states

india Updated: Sep 15, 2010 03:08 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times
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Taking exception to states’ dilly-dallying on the removal of illegal religious structures, the Supreme Court threatened to summon the respective chief secretaries if they failed to comply with directions to remove or relocate places of worship built on public land.

On Tuesday, a bench gave two weeks to the states to file their response, the third instance the SC is giving time to states to comply with its directions.

According to affidavits filed by various states, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of unauthorised places of worship (77,450). Delhi has the least, 52. The bench lauded Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nagaland and Mizoram for being “civilised” as there are no unauthorised structures there.

The court is hearing the Centre’s appeal against a 2006 Gujarat HC order for removal of unauthorised structures.
On September 27, 2009, the SC had ordered there should be no unauthorised religious structures on roads, pavements or other public places, as they were inconvenience to people.

In its order, the apex court had put the onus on chief secretaries’ to ensure no further construction took place. The court said the states should deal with existing structures on individual basis after hearing the parties concerned.

From the affidavits, it transpired none of the States have taken effective methods to abide by the Supreme Court order.

Huge numbers
77,450 - Tamil Nadu
58,253 - Rajasthan
51,624 - Madhya Pradesh
45,000 - Uttar Pradesh
17,385 - Maharashtra
15,000 - Gujarat
52 - Delhi