The Kerala High Court on Friday dismissed a batch of petitions challenging the land acquisition for National Highway development on places of worship in Kollam. The court observed that the alignment of the National Highway development should not be changed to protect the places of worship.
“For the development of National Highways in the state, if religious institutions are affected, God will forgive us. God will protect the petitioners, the authorities, and also the author of this judgment. God will be will be with us,” the court said.
The high court made this remark while considering the pleas filed against the revised alignment of National Highway 66 passing through Umayanelloor village in the Kollam district of Kerala. The petitioners alleged that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) neglected the state government’s suggestion to bring some change in the alignment of NH-66 to save religious institutions in a few villages in Kollam.
The high court quoted Malayalam lyricist Sreekumaran Thampi’s lyrics “God is in the earth, in the sky, in the pillars and in the rust, God is omnipresent”. The high court also clarified that it will not interfere in the land acquisition for the National Highways on unnecessary and trivial matters.
“If the courts intervene in this manner, the development of the National Highways will come to a complete standstill,” the court observed.
The court pointed out that it was not always practical to implement the state government’s directive to exclude places of worship when acquiring land for National Highways development.
The high court pointed out that the development of National Highways is essential for the development of the country and directed the landowners to co-operate with the land acquisition.
“The court can understand their feelings. But development projects cannot be implemented without the hardship of a section of citizens,” the court said.