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What steps taken to demolish illegal shrines, HC asks govt

Bombay High Court

Mumbai:  The Bombay High Court today sought to know from the Maharashtra government as to what steps it has taken in compliance of a 2009 Supreme Court order directing it to demolish all illegal shrines erected post its order.

A division bench of justices A S Oka and V L Achliya also referred to an order passed by it in March this year asking the government to set up a district-wise coordination committee for categorisation of shrines that were erected prior to 2009.

The high court had in its March order also asked the government to demolish all illegal shrines that came up post the SC order in 2009.

The directions were given on a public interest litigation by an NGO ‘Society for Fast Justice’ against illegal shrines in the city.

The court was today informed that the coordination committee was set up on July 15, this year.

“In March we passed order and the committee was set up only in July. What has the committee done till date? Has it had any meetings? We want you (government) to submit the minutes of the meeting. We also want to know how many illegal shrines have been demolished so far?” the court said posting the matter for hearing on September 16.

Pursuant to the SC order, a state Government Resolution (GR) of May 5, 2011 had prescribed a well-defined scheme for appropriate action against unauthorised religious structures in terms of regularisation, relocation and removal.

The GR also suggested that a three-tier committee be set up — state-wise, at district level and in corporations, including Mumbai, Thane and Pune –- for relevant action.

It said that illegal and unauthorised shrines erected after September 29, 2009 had to be demolished.

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