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Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of 77,453 unauthorized religious structures on public land, the Supreme Court was Tuesday informed.

Tamil Nadu is followed by Rajasthan with 58,253 such structures and Madhya Pradesh with 51,624 unauthorized structures.

The court sought details from all states on the number of unauthorized religious structures in parks and on streets that have been removed, replaced or regularized.

The bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma told the chief secretaries of the states to file comprehensive affidavits on the matter.

The directions were given when several states failed to inform the court about the number of unauthorized religious structures located in public places in each of the states and the action taken in respect of them.

The court had earlier directed the governments to frame a policy to check the mushrooming of unauthorized religious structures in public places, including streets and parks.

The court also took stock of the steps taken by each of the states in pursuance of its directions.

The states that have identified the unauthorized religious structures in public places included Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Delhi.

The number of such structures in Maharashtra is 17,385, Gujarat 15,000, Karnataka 2,814 and Delhi with 52 unauthorized religious structures.

Sikkim, Mizoram and Nagaland reported that they have no unauthorized religious structure in public places.

In an interesting development, in pursuance of the order the Chhattisgarh government counted all the religious places in the state including both authorized and unauthorized.

This prompted the court to say: ‘You have done ten times more work than what we had asked you to do.’

The court then asked Chhattisgarh to come before it with the number of unauthorized religious structures.

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