Other States

PIL on order to ban temples in police stations dismissed

JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN, 20/07/2020: The Jaipur Bench of Rajasthan High Court where the hearing on the petition of Sachin Pilot and rebel Congress MLAs against Assembly Speaker's notice took place in Jaipur on July 20, 2020. Photo: Rohit Jain Paras   | Photo Credit: ROHIT JAIN PARAS

The Rajasthan High Court has dismissed a public interest writ petition challenging a recent circular of the police which had prohibited the construction of places of worship in police stations and police office premises. Civil rights groups have welcomed the judgment, saying it had upheld secularism as a constitutional mandate.

In his circular issued on October 25, Additional Director General of Police (Police Housing) A. Ponnuchami had stated that the Rajasthan Religious Places and Buildings Act, 1954, disallowed the religious use of public places. The circular had asked all Superintendents of Police and other unit in-charges to ensure a scrupulous compliance with the Act.

Mr. Ponnuchami said a trend had been witnessed during the recent years for construction of places of worship with public participation in police stations and office complexes on the pretext of faith. “There is no provision for such construction in the building plans drafted and approved for the police offices,” he said.

Act of 1954

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Rekha Borana, ruled that as long as the Act of 1954 stood, no petitioner could raise any objection to the Government authority issuing a circular that the provisions of the Act be implemented.

The court rejected the petitioner’s plea to include Government institutions and State bodies in the definition of “public places” under the Act. “As is well settled through a series of judgments, no direction can be issued to the legislature to frame a law in a particular manner,” said the Bench.

‘Upheld State’s right’

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties-Rajasthan said the judgment had correctly upheld the right of the State to maintain public places as secular places.

“The insidious agenda of the petitioner was to legitimise the conversion of public places like police stations into places which offer worship to deities from one religion alone,” PUCL State president Kavita Srivastava said.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 8:40:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pil-on-order-to-ban-temples-in-police-stations-dismissed/article37798736.ece

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