Illegally constructed temple in South Delhi: High Court pulls up AAP government

The court had earlier issued notice and sought response from the Delhi government, DCP (South), Hauz Khas on the petition filed by the property's owner.

Published: 21st October 2021 11:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st October 2021 11:28 PM   |  A+A-

Delhi high court, Delhi HC

Delhi High Court (File Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)


NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Thursday pulled up the Delhi government for not fulfilling its stand to demolish an illegally constructed temple in South Delhi's Defence Colony and referring the issue to the religious committee for its approval, saying this will lead to chaos and more encroachment.

The high court said the religious committee, which is headed by the Lieutenant Governor, may be needed if there is a big temple, but if somebody puts a few bricks overnight then referring it to the panel will not serve the purpose.

"I want to see what is the scope? Whether just a few bricks put by somebody will fall within the scope of the religious committee's mandate, that is the question. If there is a big temple, the religious committee may be needed but what if somebody puts a few bricks overnight?," Justice Rekha Palli said.

The court noted that earlier the Delhi government had submitted that the authorities plan to demolish the illegal structure on October 4, however, now it has referred the matter to the religious committee.

"There are just a few bricks and 2-3 idols," the court said while directing the government to place on record a copy of the order by which the religious committee, which deals with the issue of removal of encroachments in the form of religious structures, was constituted.

"This will lead to total chaos. If tomorrow somebody puts only five bricks and puts an idol, you will say we need a religious committee. Is that the purpose of the religious committee? Today somebody puts an idol outside the high court or anywhere, you will say now it is a religious structure. There are five bricks lying there and now we will consider whether the religious committee will relocate them? This is not the way," it said.

Advocate Anupam Srivastava, representing the Delhi government, said even the authorities wanted the structure to be removed but they have to follow the mandate of the religious committee first and added that they were not shying away from removal.

The court said it will not even take 3-4 hours to build such a structure and added that if that was the view of the government, then "we will have the whole of Delhi encroached. Anybody will put anything. We are sitting in court, somebody will put something outside and we will say alright, it is over."

The court was hearing a plea seeking removal of encroachment in front of a property.

The court had earlier issued notice and sought response from the Delhi government, DCP (South), Hauz Khas on the petition filed by the property's owner.

The plea said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, somebody trespassed and illegally constructed a temple on public land, that is a footpath, at Bhishma Pitamah Marg, right in front of the petitioners' property.

The petition claimed that taking advantage and shelter of the illegal construction, people gather there and indulge in rowdiness and gambling and the encroached structure impedes full access to the petitioners' building.


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