The state government on Friday assured the Bombay high court that all 1,742 illegal shrines across the state, which were built after September 2009, will be pulled down in nine months.
Advocate general Shrihari Ane informed the division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice VL Achliya that the government had made a schedule to demolish these structures and also to regularise and shift the illegal shrines built before the deadline set by the Supreme Court.
According to the schedule submitted in court, the government has given itself six months to regularise religious structures; six to nine months to shift the structures that interfered with traffic and one year to pull down the illegal shrines that were built post-September 2009.
The judges, however, insisted that the government shorten the time so that action can be taken immediately. After this, the time to demolish the illegal shrines built after September 2009 was reduced to nine months.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Janhit Manch, seeking a direction to demolish illegal shrines across the state. The court had earlier directed the government to submit a time-bound schedule for demolition of the 1,742 illegal shrines, of which 681 were located within limits of 26 municipal corporations across the state and 1,061 were outside civic limits.
Responding to the PIL, the government filed an affidavit stating that a government resolution (GR) of May 5, 2011, contained a scheme for taking action against illegal religious structures. It contained a direction to all municipal corporations to demolish all illegal shrines built after September 29, 2009, and so the court has observed that there was no impediment in demolishing the 1,742 illegal religious structures built after the date.
Despite the GR and repeated directions to civic bodies, no action has been taken so far to demolish the structures.