'Provide us materials of religious structures' survey'

Provide us materials of survey on religious structures: HC to Palike

Credit: DH

The Karnataka High Court on Friday directed the BBMP to provide materials regarding the recent survey conducted in the city to identify religious structures on public properties.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka also granted time for the BBMP to conduct a comprehensive survey of all the religious structures in the city.

The bench extended the time after BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad, who appeared before the court via video-conferencing, informed the court about the survey.

The commissioner said the survey, held between January 21 and 23 involving the revenue officials and engineers at the ward level, revealed that 1,337 religious structures of 1,588 were built prior to the cut-off date of September 29, 2009.

The Supreme Court had directed the authorities to remove all the religious structures on public places built after September 29, 2009.

The bench asked the commissioner if the officials involved in the survey were informed of its purpose and the orders of the Supreme Court and the High Court.

The court also asked whether any written instruction was given to the officials on the procedure to be followed to identify the structures.

The bench orally observed visiting each and every structure may be required.

“It is not known whether BBMP has given it in writing as to how a survey should be carried out to identify illegal structures on public properties,” the court said. 

“Carrying out a proper survey is the most crucial step for implementation of the orders of the Apex Court and this court. Only by way of a last chance, we grant time of three weeks to the BBMP to place necessary material on record,” it added.

The BBMP has been directed to file a detailed compliance report in the form of an affidavit by February 26.

The court is hearing a suo motu PIL and other connected petitions pertaining to illegal religious structures.

The Supreme Court had issued another direction on January 31, 2018, asking the high courts to supervise the directions issued in 2009.