Supreme Court pulls up states, UTs over illegal religious structures

The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up states and union territories for their failure to comply with its directions to file affidavits spelling out steps they have taken for removal of illegal religious structures from public roads and pavements.

The apex court gave them a final chance with a direction to file the affidavit within two weeks failing which the Chief Secretaries of the concerned states will have to be present personally to explain the non compliance of various directions of the apex court passed from time to time in this regard.

A bench comprising Justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra posted the matter in the second week of May, observing “we don’t appreciate this type of attitude.” The bench which was about to pass an order for summoning the Chief Secretaries at the first instance, modified it after a plea was made by some lawyers appearing for various states.

The apex court was hearing the petition filed in 2006 in which directions were passed earlier to the states to remove unauthorised constructions, including places of worships, from roads and public places.

On March 8, the court received a contempt petition against Chhattisgarh government after which it had asked the state to ascertain the factual position on the basis of the allegations made in the contempt petition.

The apex court had also directed all other states’ counsel to take necessary instructions with regard to the compliance of the interim orders passed by it in this regard from time to time.