High Court seeks implementation of 2011 resolution on illegal shrines

The GR specified that illegal and unauthorised shrines erected after September 29, 2009, had to be demolished.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published:October 9, 2015 1:15 am

The Bombay High Court expressed dissatisfaction over the “inaction” on part of the state government with regard to implementation of its resolution that says illegal religious structures erected after September 29, 2009, should be removed.

Observing that the state had “done nothing but to hold meetings” in this respect, the HC questioned if the state wanted to implement its government resolution (GR). “Prima facie except issuing GR, no steps have been taken to implement it in letter and spirit,” said the bench.

Pursuant to an SC order, a state government resolution of May 5, 2011 had prescribed a “well-defined” scheme for appropriate action against unauthorised religious structures. The GR specified that illegal and unauthorised shrines erected after September 29, 2009, had to be demolished.

The GR also suggested that a three-tier committee be set up — state-wise, at district level and in corporations, including Mumbai, Thane and Pune — for relevant action.The bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice V L Achliya was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the Society for Fast Justice, an NGO, against illegal shrines in the city. The government sought two weeks to take concrete steps in the matter.

The court,however, said it was granting one week to the government to come up with a time-bound programme to initiate action against illegal religious structures across Maharashtra. The court pointed out that all authorities were supposed to come up with a time-bound programme by May 2015, but nothing had been done so far. Only the BMC had completed the exercise of carrying out surveys in all its wards.

According to an earlier affidavit filed by the government, there are 808 illegal religious structures in the corporation areas that came up after September 29, 2009, but only 217 have been demolished so far and out of 1,065 illegal religious structures in the collectorate area, only four have been demolished. These structures have been classified into categories, including old religious shrines, those posing as a roadblock for both traffic and law and order etc.

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