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The Supreme Court Tuesday asked all states and union territories to apprise it of their policies on existing religious structures built illegally on public land.
A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and K.S. Radhakrishnan asked all states and union territories to file affidavits within four weeks, detailing as to how they propose to deal with the existing religious structures built illegally on encroached public land.

The bench asked the states to tell if they propose razing to ground the illegal religious structures or relocate them or regularize them and accept them as fate accompli.

It issued these directions while hearing a lawsuit by the central government, which challenged the Gujarat High Court’s ruling in 2006, directing the municipal bodies in the state to demolish all illegal religious structures within its jurisdiction.

The apex court’s Sep 29 order had put the onus of allowing no new unauthorized construction of religious places on public land on the chief secretaries of all the states and union territories.

The court had asked the states to deal with existing structures on individual, case-to-case basis after hearing the parties concerned.

The Supreme Court had suspended the high court order, while asking all states and union territories not to allow building of any new religious structure on encroached public land.

The apex court, later in December, also cautioned various courts in the country against passing any such order, which might end up facilitating construction of religious structures on encroached public land


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