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HC gives Maha nine months time to act against illegal shrines

Bombay High Court

Mumbai : The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra government to take appropriate action against illegal religious structures in terms of regularisation, relocation and removal within nine months.

The state government responded saying it would take action against illegal shrines that have been constructed after September 29, 2009.

In September 2009, the Supreme Court had directed all states to initiate action against illegal shrines.

Advocate General Shreehari Aney told the court that action against those shrines will be taken within a year’s time.

A division bench headed by Justice A S Oka, however, said the government has already delayed a lot in the case.

“The apex court order was passed in 2009. Maharashtra government passed a resolution in May 2011 but till date nothing has been done. The government should have by now identified and demolished all illegal shrines,” the court said.

It said the government should take appropriate action as per its resolution within nine months.

The resolution prescribed a “well-defined” scheme for appropriate action against unauthorized religious structures in terms of regularization, relocation and removal. It also suggested a three-tier committee be set up state-wise, district level and in corporations, including Mumbai, Thane and Pune for relevant action.

Earlier, the court was informed that information collected from seven municipal corporations as on February 1, 2015, there were 6336 unauthorized structures, of which 207 had been regularized, 179 demolished and three relocated.

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