On Thursday, the Apex Court granted an extension of time till May 31, 2021, to the Uttarakhand Govt to remove four illegal religious structures in areas of Haridwar, that encroach public land.
A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan allowed the petition of the Govt of Uttarakhand seeking an extension of time till May 31, 2021.
The state said it was asking for an extension of time only in view of the Kumbh Mela which is scheduled to be held in Jan 2021.
The Bench said that “We are of the view that the state should be permitted to remove the illegal structures by May 2021”.
The Bench was also informed that out of 795 only 5 structures are left to be demolished, but one structure-property dispute is going on. The Court then asked the Govt to demolish four remaining illegal religious structures in Haridwar.
Intervenor Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad’s counsel told the court that structures should not be demolished, however, the Bench rejected this request.
The High Court of Uttarakhand has also been hearing a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) concerning the removal of all illegal religious structures built on public land.
The Hc had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue after a Top Court’s order. The State Govt had informed the High Court that while almost all religious structures built on public land have been removed in districts like Dehradun, Nainital, & Udham Singh Nagar, it will take time to clear all such structures in Haridwar as many of these are used to host Kumbh Mela which is scheduled for the next year.
The Supreme Court had directed all states to demolish illegal religious structures, saying in the name of gods & religion, no unauthorized construction can be allowed on streets, parks & other public places.
The Supreme Court had sent all cases related to the demolition of religious structures on public land across India to respective State HC’s.