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Religious structures on public places: UP law panel recommends 3-year jail term, fine

State Law Commission chairman Justice AN Mittal has submitted the draft of a proposed law to chief minister Yogi Adityanath for the removal of religious structures from public places, recommending a three-year prison term and fine for violators
By HT Correspondent, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON MAR 20, 2021 11:07 PM IST

State Law Commission chairman Justice AN Mittal has submitted the draft of a proposed law to chief minister Yogi Adityanath for the removal of religious structures from public places, recommending a three-year prison term and fine for violators.

The draft is titled “Regulation of Public Religious Structures (on public places)”. It was submitted on Friday. Justice AN Mittal is a former judge of the Allahabad high court.

According to the state law department, the government will soon come up with a law on the basis of this report. Justice Mittal prepared this draft after studying similar laws of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

In his representation to the chief minister, Justice Mittal pointed out the increasing practice of grabbing public land by constructing temples, mosques and other religious structures. These structures on public land are initially small and, thereafter, they get bigger.

“I have recommended three- categories in my 135-page report. The first category will cover religious structures constructed on public land before September 27, 2009,” said Justice Mittal.

“The second category will cover religious structures constructed from September 27, 2009 till the framing of law (to check religious structures on public land). The third category will cover religious structures constructed after the framing of the law,” he added.

“I have recommended demolition, relocation and reduction in the size of religious structures constructed on public places. A three-year jail term and fine have also been recommended on violation of the law,” he said.

In 2009, the Supreme Court had ordered the state government to frame a policy for removing religious structures from public places.

Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on June 3, 2016 had ordered the state government to remove all religious structures from public places.

As this PIL is still pending, the high court on March 10 had ordered the state government to remove all religious structures from public places.

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