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Roadside religious places are encroachments: Rajasthan HC

November 10, 2010 23:59 IST

Taking a serious note of the mushrooming illegal roadside religious places, the Rajasthan High Court has directed the state government to come out with a plan within a month for the removal of 58,000 such structures in the state.

The direction came after the court suo moto took up the issue following complaints of inconvenience to the public with such illegal structures coming up along roadsides and on public land. A division bench of the high court comprising Acting Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M Rafiq directed the Rajasthan government to prepare a concrete plan within a month outlining how these structures can be removed.

The state government in its response had submitted that there were 58,000 illegal religious structures in the state. "We appreciate religious feelings associated with places of worship but still God and Goddesses too will feel bad sitting on a roadside or a nallah. Temples are not like roadside vendorshops that can be installed anywhere. We cannot allow encroachments in the name of temples," Justice Mishra observed.


Mishra also issued an advisory to the advocate general of the state saying, the government must itself take a decision to dismantle these encroachments or the court will be forced to step in and take action. Advocate General G S Bapna submitted to the bench that the state government has framed a policy to demolish all those illegal religious roadside structures causing traffic hazards. 

Bapna said those structures which would be demolished will, however, be relocated in a nearby vicinity. Bapna said the government has decided to regularise those temples and mosques that are not causing any traffic hazard. Under the policy, places of worship would be clearly earmarked in all the upcoming colonies, he said. A single judge of the court in January this year taken suo moto cognizance of the illegally constructed temples and mosques on roadsides and public land. The court had then asked the state authorities to explain that despite Supreme Court's verdict in this regard why public land is being allowed to be encroached by persons who try to grab the land in the name of building temples and mosques.

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