New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the city government to remove a makeshift temple allegedly constructed during the Covid-19 pandemic, on the pavement of public property at south Delhi’s Defence Colony.
While giving ten days for removal of the encroachment, the bench of Justice Rekha Palli also asked the police to ensure the idols and pictures be placed on a nearby temple to maintain its sanctity and directed the Public Works Department to assist the process. The court also noted that it appears that neither one has been offering prayers on the site nor is any priest present in there. Earlier, the local police were directed to furnish a report with details of visitors to the structure.
The petitioner, a resident of the area namely Viraht Saini was seeking the removal of the makeshift temple right in front of his house on the pavement of Bhishma Pitamah Marg, claiming that it obstructed his right of way. In the plea, it was also alleged that taking advantage and shelter of the illegal construction, people gather there and resort to rowdiness and gambling.
Earlier in October, the city government had submitted that no demolition of a religious structure, no matter how small, could take place without obtaining prior approval of the Religious Committee, constituted under the orders of the Lieutenant Governor. In the last hearing on December 7, the court had said there is no clarity as to whether the religious committee is required to look into the removal of encroachments that are of minuscule nature. During the course of the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel, referring to the apex court order, submitted that no encroachment could be permitted on public property. Additional Standing Counsel, representing the Delhi government, sought time to send the proposal of demolition of the structure in question to the religious committee.