Will prayers reach god from illegally built temples, asks Delhi HC

NEW DELHI: Will prayers reach god if you pray from temples built illegally on pavements?

This was a question posed by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday as it dealt with a case of removing encroachments from around the 108-feet tall Hanuman statue in the Karol Bagh area of central Delhi.

“Will prayers reach the god if you pray from illegal encroachments on pavements? What is its sanctity,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said, warning that everyone responsible for unauthorised constructions, including the temple, “will be dealt with”.

The court asked the municipal corporation of north Delhi, under whose jurisdiction the area falls, to produce records pertaining to the construction of the road and the pavement adjoining which the illegal encroachments have sprung up.

The direction was issued after Delhi government additional standing counsel Satyakam, appearing for the Public Works Department (PWD), told the bench that the road and the pavement was the responsibility of the municipal corporation.

He said while one paw of the statue fell on the pavement, the rest of the structure was primarily located on land belonging to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

Thereafter, the court asked the authorities why commercial activities and car parking was permitted in the area and said it will prosecute the corporation and DDA officials during whose tenure the statue and other encroachments came up.

Satyakam, who also appeared for the Delhi Police, said the temple, including the statue, was being maintained and operated by a trust whose bank statements were being examined by the agency.

The bench asked the police to complete its enquiry and follow and enforce the law.

It also questioned the trust authority over running and maintaining a temple on DDA land.

The court was hearing several pleas in connection with illegal constructions and encroachments in Karol Bagh area of Delhi. It had earlier said that religious structures cannot be allowed to encroach on public land for private gain.