HC calls for report on removal of unauthorised religious structures

Judges direct Chief Secretary to file comprehensive report by March 2

The Madras High Court on Wednesday wanted to know whether the State government had complied with an order passed by the Supreme Court, way back in February 2010, and formulated a comprehensive policy for removal, relocation or regularisation of unauthorised religious structures, constructed on streets, parks and other public places.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha directed the Chief Secretary to file a comprehensive report on the issue, by March 2, since the apex court had on January 31, 2018, ordered that the respective High Courts in the country should ensure effective implementation of the orders passed in 2010, with respect to all States and Union Territories.

The Bench, led by Justice Sathyanarayanan, came across the orders passed by the Supreme Court during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by Madurai Mavatta Devendra Kula Vellalar Uravinmurai Sangam, accusing the government of having denied permission to it for installing a statue of Sundaralinganar, at a roundabout close to the Madurai district court.

Since the petitioner association’s request to install the statue at the roundabout, situated right opposite the Periyar arch in K.K. Nagar, was denied citing reasons such as possibility of blocking the vision of motorists, it sought for a direction to the government to remove the statue of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, installed recently a few feet away from the roundabout.

The association insisted that the statue of Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar should also be removed from the Goripalayam junction in Madurai city, since it was also reportedly causing traffic problems in the area, surrounded by the Government Rajaji Hospital, the American College and other prime commercial locations.

In reply, Additional Advocate General S.R. Rajagopal told the court that the statue of Jayalalithaa was installed right next to an existing statue of her mentor, M.G. Ramachandran, and that both statues do not cause any obstruction to the motorists, according to officials concerned. He also undertook to file a detailed affidavit in that regard by March 2.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 11:14:59 PM |

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