The Supreme Court Tuesday said the chief secretaries of state governments that have not furnished details of unauthorized religious structures in public places will have to appear in person to answer their failure to comply with the court’s directions.
Granting the defaulting state governments yet two more weeks, the apex court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma said there would be no extension of time to file details of unauthorised structures in public places.
While granting the extension, the court said it was dealing with the matter for quite some time and it could not be postponed any further. This was the last adjournment it was acceding to and thereafter it would summon the chief secretaries, the court said.
In September 2009, the apex court had directed the state governments and the union territories not to permit any construction of temple, mosque, church, gurudwara or any place of worship in public places, including streets and parks.
The court had asked the state governments to frame comprehensive policy in this regard, identify the unauthorised religious structures in public places, and make plans to remove or relocate these or their regularise them.
During the course of the last hearing on July 27, 2010, the court asked the chief secretaries to file comprehensive affidavits indicating the number of unauthorised religious structures that have been removed, replaced or regularised in their states.
The states that had identified the unauthorised religious structures include Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Delhi and some other smaller states.
Tamil Nadu led the states with 77,453 unauthorised religious structures in public places, followed by Rajasthan with 58,253 such structures and Madhya Pradesh with 51,624.
Other states were Maharashtra with 17,385, Gujarat with 15,000, Karnataka with 2,814 and Delhi with 52 unauthorised religious structures.
Sikkim, Mizoram and Nagaland told the court that they have no such unauthorised religious structures in public places.