The Supreme Court Tuesday ticked off the West Bengal government for its failure to give details of steps taken to prevent illegal construction of places of worship on public land.
A bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice T.S. Thakur asked the state government to submit an affidavit within three weeks to apprise it of its action in the matter.
The bench warned that the state chief secretary would be summoned and taken to task if the government still fails to submit the affidavit.
Meanwhile, obeying the apex court’s earlier order, all state governments have filed affidavits in the court stating that they are taking steps taken to implement the court’s order in letter and spirit.
They said that as per the court’s order the governments are keeping a strict vigil to ensure that no new place of worship is constructed on encroached land.
The governments’ affidavits said that to prevent such fresh constructions district magistrates have been made responsible as per the court’s orders.
They said the governments were dealing with existing religious places on case to case basis while deciding whether they should be razed to ground or allowed to exist.
The court on Sep 29 last year ordered a ban on unauthorized construction of religious structures on public land.
The order came on a lawsuit by the central government challenging a Gujarat High Court order in 2006 directing a municipal agency to take action against such illegal structures.
The apex court’s Sep 29 order put the onus of preventing new unauthorized construction of places of worship on public land on the chief secretaries of states and union territories.