Land belonging to religious body can be acquired for ‘public purpose’: HC

"Once there is public purpose for which land in question has been acquired, invoking provision of National Highways Act, 1956, then no relief can be accorded to the petitioner," the court said.

By: PTI | Allahabad | Published:December 24, 2016 5:30 pm
Allahabad High Court, Religious body land, Court religious body land, High court religious body land Allahabad High Court Building (Express Archives)

The Allahabad High Court has ruled that a land belonging to a religious body can be acquired for a “public purpose” while asking the Church of North India Association and NHAI to “work out modality” for “demolition or shifting” of a church for construction of a six-lane road. “Once there is public purpose for which land in question has been acquired, invoking provision of National Highways Act, 1956, then no relief can be accorded to the petitioner,” the court said, disposing of the plea of the Church of North India Association which had challenged a August 17, 2012 notification by which four plots of land were acquired in Firozabad district for construction of a bypass connecting Agra with Etawah.

A division bench comprising Justices V K Shukla and M C Tripathi, however, in its December 19 order said that in view of Christmas festivities, the structures should not be demolished “for the period of one month” but thereafter the aggrieved party and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) should “work out modality” for “demolition or shifting” of the same. The association had moved the court contending that the impugned notification “hurts the sentiments and religious conscience of the Christian community” which violated the “right to freedom of religion” and the “freedom to manage religious affairs” guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution.

The petitioner had also argued that the acquisition of the land violated the Place of Worship (Special Provisions) Act which “safeguards all religious properties”. The court refused to interfere in the petition challenging the acquisition of the land belonging to a church and a graveyard in western Uttar Pradesh for construction of the six-lane road. It said that the Place of Worship (Special Provisions) Act only “bars any person from converting any place of worship of any religious denomination or different religious denomination” and that the “provision had been introduced to see that communal harmony is not disturbed and persons of one religious community may not take on the other”.

The bench accepted the plea made by the petitioner’s counsel that “it would be too harsh to demolish the church at this point of time, i.e. on Christmas eve and as such for a period of one month, demolition may not take place on the spot and thereafter, the petitioner in consultation with NHAI would see and ensure demolition/shifting of the church as well as of the graveyard”.

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  1. S
    Sri
    Dec 24, 2016 at 1:29 pm
    The executives of religious bodies are among the most corrupt and elderly residents living in these houses built on "religious" land 50-60 years ago are the target of these unscrupulous executives. There should be a law that gives the land to these people if they have have lived there for 40 years and above...
    Reply
    1. D
      DKI
      Dec 24, 2016 at 4:43 pm
      That should not be applied to Hindu gods because IT IS HINDU GOD-Highly CORRUPT(HC).
      Reply
      1. T
        Tata
        Dec 24, 2016 at 6:24 pm
        First of all why are you using a Hindu name which is haram in your religion. Secondly Christians don't believe in deity worship so why out cross with nailed Jewish Jesus on roadside? Are they pagans? And this is a Hindu majority country so why should you allow Christians with foreign funding from terrorist organization to put crosses and then molest kids in churches and missionary schools? Same goes to Muslims who got their own land and now need to move to stan and build mosques by destroying Buddhist statues churches and temples which is what every Islamic country does.
        Reply
        1. A
          Athesit
          Dec 24, 2016 at 6:39 pm
          10 of the Worst Terror Attacks by Extreme Christians and Far-Right White Menlt;br/gt;Most of the terrorist activity in the U.S. in recent years has come not from Muslims, but from radical Christianists, white supremacists christians and far-right militia Christian groups.
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          1. A
            Athesit
            Dec 24, 2016 at 6:33 pm
            Shekhar why are you using a Hindu name while you are spreading your hatred Christian vendetta against Hindus. I have witnessed many temples which have been demolished in India to widen the road. In Kerala more Hindus have been killed by Christians terrorists than anywhere else. And all over the world more people Duden under Christians than anyone else. Poor native Indians in America to Aztec and Mayan civilizations wiped out by you guys. I will show you millions of cases where your Christian padre missionary priest has molested kids and nuns and you say Christians are civilized society? So Christian Hitler was civilized? Pope who is the biggest fraud is civilized?
            Reply
            1. M
              Mani
              Dec 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm
              funny you published a comment with bad words, but are moderating a respectfully written, positive comment about the courts verdict.
              Reply
              1. M
                Mani
                Dec 24, 2016 at 3:18 pm
                if you are moderating a comment then publish the moderated comment. Dont just use it as an excuse to not publish pro government comments.lt;br/gt;8#enc#0d moderators. M@d er c#0d
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                1. S
                  Shekar
                  Dec 24, 2016 at 2:51 pm
                  Absolutely. Not one temple has been demoolishedd. However the number of churches can be counted..and Hindus don't have the.....to demolish a mosque..we peace loving Christians will always be your government's target. And mind u, list down the number of temples demolished, even one for a development purpose...
                  Reply
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