Bengaluru

There are 2,170 illegal religious structures on public lands, BBMP tells HC

A third survey conducted by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on the directions of the High Court of Karnataka has found that there are 2,170 religious structures built illegally on public lands in the city, and 277 of them were built after September 29, 2009, the cut-off date set by the apex court for preventing such constructions.

A report on the outcome of the survey was submitted before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum on Friday during the hearing of a PIL petition, initiated suo motu by the High Court for enforcing the Supreme Court’s 2009 directions on preventing illegal religious structures on public properties.

In an affidavit, BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad told the court said that there are 1,893 illegal religious structures on public lands built prior to September 2009.

The commissioner stated that 240 of the 1,893 structures will have to be removed, while the remaining 105 can be relocated and 1,548 can be regularised as per the apex court’s guidelines. Anotherr 277 structures built on public lands after September 2009 cannot be tolerated as per apex court’s directions and they will be removed after issuing show cause notices to those managing them, he said.

On private lands

Pointing out that the survey found a total of 3,335 and 379 religious structures built on private lands prior and after September 2009 respectively, the commissioner said BBMP officers are analysing documents like sale deeds, building plan, etc., to ascertain whether these structures are actually built on private lands and if they have encroached public streets or footpaths.

After conducting the first survey during March-June 2020, the BBMP had told the High Court that there were only 17 illegal religious structures built on public lands after the September 2009, and 94 such structures built prior to 2009. However, the court had observed that “even a child cannot believe” that there are only 17 illegal structures built illegally after September 2009 while directing re-survey.

In the second survey, the BBMP had identified a total of 1,588 religious structures built illegally on public lands and of which 1,337 were found to have existed prior to September 2009. The BBMP conducted the survey for a third time as the court found fault with the methodology of the second survey as religious structures on private properties were not surveyed.

While clarifying that the lack of understanding of the apex court’s 2009 directions in proper perspective by the field staff had resulted in the difference in outcome in the surveys, the commissioner apologised to the court.

The apex court on September 29, 2009, had directed all the State governments not to allow or legalise any construction of religious structures on public lands illegally from that date, and those built prior to that date can be regularised or relocated or removed by framing a proper policy by the respective governments.

The Bench adjourned further hearing till March 26 asking the BBMP to submit the status of action taken based actions proposed on survey result.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 1:10:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/there-are-2170-illegal-religious-structures-on-public-lands-bbmp-tells-hc/article33944849.ece

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