State duty-bound to remove all unauthorized religious structures: Delhi High Court

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A bench of Justice Yashwant Varma of the Delhi High Court has reiterated that state authorities remain duty bound to remove all unauthorised constructions on public land, including religious structures.

Dealing with a petition concerning encroachments on a public pathway in the city's Rani Jhansi Road, the Court said that the mere fact that such encroachments represent religious structures, places of worship or given colour of a religious structure cannot detract or dilute the authorities from their obligation.

The counsels for the Delhi Government and the Municipal Corporation apprised the Court that the communication was already ongoing between the Religious Committee responsible for taking decisions on the matter and the concerned Corporation.

While the former stated that it was awaiting inputs from the Corporation, the latter informed Court that it had already provided requisite inputs.

However, the petitioner argued that the respondents' stand reflected apathy and failure to remove the structures which were admittedly unauthorised and built on public land.

Thereafter, referring to an order passed by Justice Rekha Palli wherein the Court had directed the Delhi Government to remove an illegally constructed temple wherein the sme Circular was referred,  the Court observed thus:

" is manifest that the state respondents remain duty bound to remove all unauthorised constructions which may exist on public land. The mere fact that those encroachments represent religious structures, a place of worship or are given the colour of a religious structure cannot possibly detract or dilute from that obligation."

The counsel appearing for the Delhi Government informed Court that appropriate action shall be taken within a period of 3 weeks and that a status report will also be submitted before the Court in the case.

The matter is now posted for April 8. 

Cause Title: Kings Furnishing and Sage Co vs The Commissioner & Ors.