Thursday, January 18, 2018
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high court

Allahabad High Court has taken a very serious view of the continual defiance of a Supreme Court order of 2010, imposing a ban on the construction of   places of worship on public land. The High Court was informed by the State Government through an affidavit that in Uttar Pradesh there were 45,152 such illegal  constructions which had come up in small lanes, roads, parks and other public land. The High Court has given three weeks time to the State Government to file an affidavit stating the number of illegal  places of worship that were constructed before September 29, 2009 and the number  built after that date. The Court has ordered the removal of all such illegal constructions.

The Bench of Mr Justice Sunil Ambwani and Mr Justice Bharat Bhushan has also demanded information from the State Government about the steps taken by them so far to carry out the orders of the apex court.  By October 25 the state will have to furnish all the information desired by the Court.
We have seen that very often the local authorities show lack of guts to implement the Court orders. Durga Shakti Nagpal was removing a wall of a religious place of worship when she was suspended on the ground that such a move could have ignited communal trouble. Durga has since been rehabilitated and her suspension revoked. But the incident could deter many officials from executing the court orders for fear of inviting the wrath of the politicians with vested interests. What are the officials to do when they are perched on the horns of a dilemma – not knowing whether to please the politicians indulging in vote-bank politics and annoy the Court or follow the court orders and show thumbs to the Government. But since ultimately it is the law of the land which will prevail, the bureaucracy should decide once and for all what it should do. If it goes with the politicians whose vote-bank politics forbids the official machinery from  destroying the illegally constructed temples and mosques, it can invite the contempt-of-court proceedings. But if bureaucracy sides with the law and implements the Court’s policies then it will certainly annoy the ruling party. But what will the ruling party do at its worse?  It will at the most transfer the law-abiding bureaucrat  to an obscure part of the country or may not give him an immediate posting but keep him on the waiting list. But wouldn’t that be better than to be pulled up by the court for contempt and then jailed or fined to  show the world that none is above law?

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