Illegal places of worship irk SC

Apex court gives state govts 2 weeks time to file responses

A Bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari also granted two weeks’ time to the states to file their responses on the issue.

The apex court was furious after noting that despite several hearings, many of the states have so far not filed their affidavits and compliance reports on the issue. The Bench had earlier asked the states and Union Territories (UTs) to ensure that no unauthorised temple, mosque, churches, gurudwaras and other places of worship were allowed to exist on roads, pavements or in other public places as they were causing traffic snarls, congestions and inconvenience to the people all over the country.

During the several rounds of hearing, the Centre and the states/UTs had orally informed the bench that they were willing to comply with the orders of the apex court as the respective governments were also keen on clearing public places of such unauthorised constructions. However, many states were yet to file any compliance report pursuant to the assurances, inviting the wrath of the court.

Tamil Nadu has the highest number of unauthorised places of worship which stand at 77,450 followed by Rajasthan (58,253) and Gujarat (15,000).
Arunachal Pradesh received the compliment of the “most civilised” state from the bench when its counsel submitted that it did not have a single unauthorised structure.

The Centre, states and UTs have said they were evolving suitable policies to ensure that these unauthorised structures located on public roads, parks, streets are either removed/relocated or regularised in due course of time.

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