Sunday, January 18, 2015

Remove all illegal shrines, says Bombay high court

Coming down heavily on the Maharashtra government for not implementing its resolution to demolish shrines built without following the law, the Bombay high court on Friday directed the state to demolish all illegal shrines in its jurisdiction.

Affidavits filed by the Urban Development Department (UDD) and the BMC in the high court on Friday said that there are 17,614 illegal shrines in the state. Mumbai alone houses 761 of those. According to BMC, out of 761 it has removed 17 illegal shrines over and above the 63 that were earlier demolished. It also said that demolition of these shrines is a sensitive issue and requires adequate police protection.

The affidavit filed by UDD stated that out of 17,614 unauthorised religious structures 258 have been regularised, 370 were removed, 37 were relocated to some other place and the proposal for 33 religious structures constructed before May 1, 1960 submitted before the state-level committee is pending. “The state government has put in place comprehensive policy guidelines vide Government Resolution (GR) dated May 5, 2011 regarding regularising, removal and relocation of unauthorised religious structures and the government is regularly monitoring the progress in letter and spirit,” the affidavit further stated.

The division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon asked the Maharashtra government to ensure that all such illegal shrines are demolished in accordance with a Government

Resolution of 2011 and also to provide adequate police protection to the demolition squad, so that no law and order situation is created.

The bench also asked the secretary of UDD and BMC to file separate affidavits by February 28, stating what action they had taken against the illegal shrines in the state and posted the hearing of the petition, filed by activist Bhagwanji Raiyani, to March 2.

The petition alleged that around 17,000 illegal shrines had come up all over the state either in the middle of roads or on footpaths, obstructing movement of vehicles as well as pedestrians.

The petition said that illegal shrines should be demolished as soon as possible and if action was not taken against them, the number of such illegal shrines would grow. The petition was filed a few years ago and the court had passed orders from time to time regarding demolition of illegal shrines.

No comments:

Post a Comment