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Process to demolish illegal shrines to begin after Diwali:Govt to HC

Bombay High Court

Mumbai : The Maharashtra government today told the Bombay High Court that the process to demolish illegal shrines in the state will begin after Diwali and end in nine months.

The high court had last week asked the state government to remove illegal religious structures that have been constructed in the state after September 29, 2009, within nine months.

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

Advocate General Srihari Aney today told a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka that the process to demolish the illegal shrines would begin after Diwali and end in nine months.

He had last week sought one year’s time for removal of religious shrines which have come up illegally. However, the high court had said already considerable delay had been caused in removal of such illegal structures and ordered that these should be demolished within nine months.

The court, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Bhagwanji Riyani, had said the government should take appropriate action as per its resolution in this regard.

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 told that information collected from seven municipal corporations in the state 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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