Taking note of mushrooming places of worship on public land across the country, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to ensure that no temple, church, mosque or gurudwara was built illegally on government land.
“The solicitor general will file an affidavit to ensure that no temple, church, mosque or gurudwara is constructed on a public street or a public space,” a bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari said during hearing of a petition filed by the Centre.
The petition was filed challenging a 2006 order of the Gujarat High Court to demolish places of worships illegally built on public land.
The apex court had earlier stayed a Gujarat HC order on an urgent petition by the Centre.
The apex court gave the Centre four weeks to talk to the states and reach a consensus before filing an affidavit. The case will come up for hearing again on September 29.
“As far as existing religious institutions are concerned, we can understand that demolishing them will create law and order problem but the Centre must ensure that no religious place comes up in future in public places,” the court said.
The government should ensure that the local official, in whose jurisdiction, the religious structure comes up in an unauthorised and illegal manner, should be punished for it, the SC said.
Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam said the government was trying to build a consensus among all states.