Tensed devotes of Cuttack city heaved a sigh of relief and thronged temples to offer prayers in delight as Supreme Court on Friday restrained the Odisha government from demolishing three more temples in the city, which were viewed by the authorities as constructed illegally.

Reports reaching here said that a Division Bench of the apex court comprising Justices Gyanasudha Mishra and Madan B Lokur ordered to maintain status quo in respect of the religious structures and issued notices to the State Chief Secretary, Revenue Secretary and to the Cuttack district Collector. The Supreme Court also ordered that the cases arising out of a single order of the Orissa High Court shall be jointly adjudicated on merit, informed Prasanna Kumar Nanda, counsel for the petitioners.

The three religious structures which escaped from coming under the bulldozers are Gayatree Shakti Peetha of Chahata, Ram Nigameswar Temple of Tulasipur and Baba Boothnath Shiridi Sai Temple of Khan Nagar.

Another Bench of the SC comprising Justices B S Chowhan and Deepak Mishra had earlier stayed demolition of Ananta Gopal Ashram located at Mahanadi Vihar in the city.

Nanda said the trustees of the religious structures had approached the SC challenging the January 6, 2011 order of the Orissa High Court in which the State Government was asked to demolish all the religious structures which were constructed illegally on government land after the land settlement of 1987.

Contesting the said order of the HC, Nanda argued that the Supreme Court in September 29, 2009 in a sweeping order had said that henceforth, no constructions on government land shall be allowed across the country and the district collectors were directed to review all such illegal structures constructed prior to September 29, 2009 and dispose them case by case.