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Ban on shrines, statues on public roads: SC raps states

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the state governments for not filing the affidavit with regard to encroachment of roads, pavements and sideways by construction of religious structures or installation of statues of public figures.

The apex court had earlier on March 8 instructed the states to chalk out an action plan and file an affidavit.

An apex court bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Gopal Gowda hit out at the state governments and asked them to take the orders seriously.

“Are orders of the court meant to be kept in cold storage? Is there no respect left for the orders of the court? We know what should be done. We have summoned all the chief secretaries of all the state and then they will have to tell that why did the states not abide by the orders of the court,” the apex court bench said.

The court has bestowed all states with a time slab of two week to submit a report to Additional Solicitor General. Those who fail to do so will be summoned by the court.

The court will hear the matter next in the second week of May.

The apex court’s ruling addresses a common hazard in all Indian cities and towns where unauthorized religious structures – often thinly disguised cases of land grab – have sprung up on public and private land and are obstructing roads and inconveniencing residents.

The order can empower municipal and government bodies to prevent unauthorized constructions being carried out under the garb of religious structures as often local political interests and religious sentiments render authorities helpless.(ANI)