No new shrines in public places: SC | india | Hindustan Times
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No new shrines in public places: SC

The Supreme Court directed that there shall be no fresh construction of places of worship at public places throughout the country, reports Bhadra Sinha.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2009 00:31 IST
Bhadra Sinha

The construction of religious structures — like shrines and temples — on public land has been banned.

The Supreme Court passed this order on Tuesday and told the Centre and states to ensure it is implemented strictly.

Calling such structures — of which there are more than 60,000 just in Delhi — “unauthorised”, the court told state governments to review existing constructions and file a status report within eight weeks.

The verdict came after Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian said the Centre and states had on September 17 reached an agreement on not permitting places of worship on public land.

The ruling has its roots in the Gujarat High Court’s May 2, 2006 order to all municipal corporations in the state to demolish places of worship that caused obstructions on public roads.

The Centre challenged this in Supreme Court, saying the high court had acted on the basis of a newspaper report, without verifying facts.

On July 31 this year, the top court said such structures were a nuisance and sought the Centre’s assurance in stopping them from coming up. At this, the solicitor general pointed out that land was a state subject and the state governments were entitled to their own decisions.

But in September, the Centre and states reached a consensus.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) got into action immediately. Its press and information director Deep Mathur said all deputy commissioners had been told to keep an eye out for new constructions.

The New Delhi Municipal Council, however, said it was yet to receive the order and would study it first.