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Apex court asks for details of religious structures on government land

The Supreme Court asked all states and Union Territories to give within six weeks details about the number of religious structures on encroached government land that have been razed or relocated by them and those that are still standing.

The court also asked them to issue notifications for putting in place ‘policy/rules’ for removal or relocation of illegal religious structures built on public land and sought action against officials who allow such constructions in future. ‘Each state should give details as to how many illegal religious structures have been removed as on June 30, 2013 and how many are left. They should also state the steps taken for removing or relocating them. The affidavit shall be filed within six weeks from today (on Friday),’ a bench of justices R M Lodha and S J Mukhopadhaya said.

The bench also asked the states to give a copy of their affidavit to the Centre for preparation of a consolidated national data as to how many illegal structures have been demolished or relocated and how many of them still exist.

During the hearing, the court, which posted the matter on 30 August, said the officials who will now allow such structures to come up in their areas should be punished. Earlier this year, the bench had asked all state governments to remove unauthorised constructions including places of worships from roads and public places.
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