Government permits Uttarakhand govt to demolish illegal religious structures on public land; deadline now is May 31 this year

New Delhi (ILNS): A three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M. R. Shah of the Supreme Court has allowed the demolition of four illegal religious structures on public land in Haridwar. The demolition deadline, however, has been extended to May 31, 2021. Acting on a plea by State Government, a three judge bench declined to entertain an intervention application by Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad against the proposed demolition of the illegal structures. The State of Uttarakhand has contended in court that the land belongs to the irrigation department. The Court said that it cannot accept the contention that the structures cannot be demolished, as they have been classified as “unauthorized structures”. Justice Bhushan said that these structures are unauthorized as these were constructed without permission. The state had maintained that it would take time to clear all illegal structures in Haridwar, as many of them are used to host Kumbh Mela scheduled early next year. The high court had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue as the state government had failed to comply with the 2009 orders of the apex court which directed the state governments to remove these structures. Thereafter, the high court had then directed the state to demolish all these structures by March 23. The government, however, has been seeking extension of time till the conclusion of Kumbh Mela, which the court had refused. The top court bench has now permitted the state to demolish the illegal structure by 31 May 2021.

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