Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Remove 4 illegal religious structures in Haridwar by May 2021:

November 19, 2020 01:50 PM

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday gave the Uttarakhand government time till May 31, 2021 to demolish four religious structures constructed illegally on public land in Haridwar.

Acting on a petition filed by the state government, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan declined to entertain an intervention application preferred by the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad against the demolition of these structures.

The bench said that it cannot accept the contention that the structures cannot be demolished, as they have been classified as "unauthorised structures".

Justice Bhushan said that these structures are unauthorised as these were constructed without permission.

When the Parishad counsel pointed out that these structures have been constructed on the land of the Irrigation Department, the bench asked how somebody could come up with permanent structures on land allocated temporarily.

"We are of the view that the state should be permitted to remove the illegal structures by May 31, 2021," the top court said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the state, said that it was not against the demolition of these structures, and that he had a meeting with the state Chief Secretary on this matter.

The state had maintained that it would take time to clear all illegal structures in Haridwar, as many of them are used to host Kumbh Mela scheduled early next year.

The High Court, after taking suo motu cognisance in the wake of a Supreme Court order, directed the state government to clear all temples, mosques, gurdwaras and churches from public land by March 23.

Since then, the state had contended that it had cleared all encroached public land of almost all religious structures, except in Haridwar.

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