The Uttar Pradesh government has been directed by the Allahabad High Court to remove or shift religious structures “in any form” that is encroaching on public roads including sideways.
The state government has been asked to ensure that public roads including highways, streets, pathways and lanes shall be avoided for raising religious structures. A warning has also been issued that violation of such order will be considered as criminal contempt by administration and police officials.
Justice Sudhir Agarwal and justice Rakesh Srivastva of Lucknow bench ordered that any religious structure constructed after 2011 that encroach on public roads will be removed forthwith and a compliance report shall be submitted by concerned district magistrate within two months. The structures that have been raised earlier should be removed or shifted to private lands.
The Court’s directions come after taking up a writ petition filed by 19 locals in Mohalla Dauda Khera in Lucknow. They alleged that the pathway land has been encroached for the construction of temples. The High Court observed that this is a violation of fundamental right of movement, as it hinders free movement of people for religious activities.
The Court said such activities should not create hindrance in the smooth flow of traffic and movement of public on roads and should be performed strictly at the places identified for the same or belonging to concerned religious sections or at any private place.
It directed that after 10 June, 2016, it shall be the responsibility of “all deputy collectors/collectors in respective sub-divisions and district as also circle officers and Superintendent of Police/Senior Superintendent of Police, including the officers responsible for maintenance of roads (including highways) that no encroachment was made by raising religious structures, by whatever name it is called, belong to any religion, creed, caste, sect and section”, according to the reports of PTI.
Any deviation or disobedience by anyone will be treated as a deliberate criminal contempt.
The Logical Indian appreciates the decision of Allahabad High Court to shift or remove all religious structures that encroaches public land and hinders free movement. We hope that other states also take up such initiatives.