SC accepts Centre’s revised land offer for Ravidas temple

Govt. to allocate 400 sq. m of land in Tughlakabad forest area for reconstruction

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to a revised offer made by the Centre to allocate 400 square metres of land in the Tughlakabad forest area to rebuild the Guru Ravidas temple, which was demolished by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on the orders of the apex court in August.

The demolition had led to massive outcry and protests in the national capital and other parts of the country. Following this, the Centre had agreed to double the area to be allocated from the earlier offer of 200 square metres, keeping in mind the sentiments and faith of the people.

A Bench of justices Arun Mishra and S. Ravindra Bhat was told by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal that the Centre had revised its offer keeping in view the faith and sentiments of the devotees.

The Bench also accepted the government’s suggestion to have a committee oversee the construction of the temple. The Centre has to form the committee in six weeks.

The court also directed the release of persons who were arrested in the demonstrations, which followed the demolition of the temple. The top court said that the released persons would have to furnish an undertaking to maintain good conduct.

“Let there be peace,” the court said, while forbidding any kind of commercial activity within the temple area.

During the hearing, the Attorney General also told the Bench that criminal prosecution has been launched against the person who was running the shrine earlier.

When Mr. Venugopal said that the area in question is a “notified forest area”, one of the lawyers appearing in the matter said it might be de-notified as forest area.

The bench asked Mr. Venugopal as to what was the harm if some registered society would be handed over the land for construction of temple there.

The Attorney General said earlier, the society which was managing the affairs there had indulged in commercial activities and parking space was operated for trucks and trollies. “Our order will injunct them from doing any commercial activities there,” the Bench said.

On October 4, the SC had asked the parties involved in a plea seeking permission to rebuild the temple to come back to it with an amicable solution on a better location for the temple.

The petition filed by two former MPs — Ashok Tanwar and Pradeep Jain Aditya — had sought enforcement of their right to worship which, they alleged, “was being denied to them due to demolition” of the temple.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 5:21:05 PM |

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