Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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Allahabad high court

The Allahabad High Court has adopted a strict stand against the illegally constructed places of worship on public land and has ordered that within a month all such structures constructed on or after September 29, 2009 on roadsides should be demolished. The Court has also asked the State Government to formulate a policy on illegally constructed places of worship.

The Court has said that the freedom to practice religion does not entitle anyone to indulge in the freedom to construct unauthorised places of worship on encroached-upon land.
The High Court has also laid down the demolition schedule for the  authorities concerned. The Court has said that in the first instance, these illegal places of worship will be demolished  near schools, hospitals, Government  offices and courts.  At the same time the High Court Bench of Mr Justice Sunil Ambwani and Mr Justice Bharat Bhushan is not in agreement with the  decision of the State Government  to legalize those structures which were constructed before  September 2009 and has asked the State authorities to carry out a survey of such structures and submit their total number in the State. The matter is no doubt very sensitive and has to be handled with the utmost care. But the fault lies with the local administration which did not prevent these  constructions when they were initially attempted. And while this drive should go on as directed by the High Court, care should be taken to ensure that fresh attempts are not made to build more places of worship on encroached land elsewhere.  The people by and large could not be knowing anything about the ban. So many of them might have already started construction work on new temples and mosques. The authorities should make public announcements over the radio and Doordarshan alerting the people against undertaking any such move. The radio listeners  and TV watchers of the area should be asked to act as watch guard   to prevent illegal structures.

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