'No place of worship in public places'

Apex court asks Centre to seek response from states

The Court also warned that any official found guilty of dereliction of duty in this regard would be sternly dealt with.

A Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and M K Sharma sought an assurance from the government in this connection and asked it to file an affidavit within four weeks after seeking response from the states.

The Bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on September 29, preferred not to pass any order on demolishing existing places of worship on the ground of a possible law and order problem but was categorical that the construction of new religious places in public space would be prevented.

Law and order problem

“As far as the 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,” it said.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium submitted that after receiving a notice from the apex court, the Union home secretary had written on August 18, 2008, to the chief secretaries of all states and Union territories eliciting their response on the ban on construction of places of worship in public space.

However, Subramanium did not mention in the court about the states’ response.
On March 25, 2008 the Centre had challenged a ruling of the Gujarat High Court that had ordered the demolition of all places of worship in public places across the state.
The apex court had stayed the High Court order on the Centre’s appeal and issued notice to the Gujarat government to file its response.

The Centre, in its statement,  had said it was concerned about the safety of the citizens, and if the High Court order was not stayed, it would have serious ramifications on the unity, integrity and security of the country and its secular fabric.

Ironically, the Narendra Modi government had ordered the demolition of over 250 temples in Gandhinagar and elsewhere following the High Court order.

DHNS and agencies

SC orders demolition of arches constructed by Jayalalitha

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Tamil Nadu government to demolish two arches at Perambalur in Tamil Nadu constructed during the tenure of Jayalalitha as chief minister to commemorate her birthday, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice S B Sinha said public property could not be used for erecting arches for political leaders.

The arches were constructed on the national highway at Perambalur to place the photographs of Jayalaitha and other AIDMK leaders before the Assembly elections in the state in 2005.

The Madras High Court had allowed the construction of the arches after hearing a public suit. After the High Court order was challenged, the apex court  had ordered to maintain status quo on the matter.

The Supreme Court had in April 2005 ordered status quo on the construction of two arches on highways in Tamil Nadu to mark the 57th birthday celebration of the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Thuraiyur-Perambalur road and Thuraimangalam-Bungalow road.

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