Shrines on drains insult to God: SC

Chief Secys put on notice

  • The Supreme Court has asked the Chief Secretaries to be present in the court for next hearing in the second week of May unless they submit affidavits listing the steps taken to remove such structures

R Sedhuraman

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 19

The Supreme Court today pulled up state governments for their failure to prevent unauthorised construction of shrines on drains and footpaths or near shops selling tobacco products, observing that this amounted to insulting the God.

Unscrupulous elements constructed places of worship in such places to earn money in the name of God, but the states were doing nothing to check the trend, a Bench comprising Justices Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra remarked.“God does not want to obstruct roads or footpaths.
It is an insult to God,” the Bench said and made it clear that the Chief Secretaries would have to be present in the court in the second week of next month, when a case on the issue would be taken up for hearing, unless they submitted affidavits listing the steps taken to remove such structures in compliance with a number of orders passed by the court time and again.
The Bench made the remarks after noticing that none of the states had filed compliance reports on the issue in the light of its order on March 8, 2016. The SC had passed an order far back in January 2013, directing all the states not to let any shrine or statue come up on roads infringing on people’s right to move freely.
Henceforth, the state governments shall not grant any permission for installation of any statute or construction of any structure on public roads, pavements, sideways or any other public utilities,” the SC had said.
The SC was hearing a plea seeking removal of illegal shrines on roads and other public places. The Bench passed the order after being informed that the Kerala government had permitted the installation of a leader’s statute at a highway intersection. Pointing out that roads were public property, the Bench said no government could take away people’s right to use them without any hindrance in the form of statues, temples, mosques or churches.