The Bombay High Court observed that there was complete failure on the part of the Maharashtra government in demolition of illegal shrines across the state in keeping with its policy stated in a government resolution (GR) last year.
“There has been complete failure on the part of the state government to act against illegal shrines. We find that the government has not acted enough as it should have done in keeping with its policy,” observed a division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka.
The high court was hearing a bunch of PILs filed by social activist Bhagwanji Riyani and NGOS, including ‘Society for Fast Justice.’
Perusing the GR issued by the government on November 18, 2015, the bench observed that it appears that the policy of the state pertained to demolition of illegal shrines located on public land and not on private properties.
“Shall we assume that your policy is confined to only illegal shrines which are constructed on public land and not on private properties?” the judges asked the government.
The bench also asked the state government and local authorities to furnish tomorrow the figures of demolition of illegal shrines in various municipal corporation limits, municipal council areas and in district places prior to 2009 and thereafter.
The high court also asked the government to strictly follow its commitment of demolishing illegal shrines in the state which had come up after 2009 and warned that any laxity on its part would be viewed seriously.
Abhinandan Vagyani, government pleader, assured the court that the state government was committed to demolition of illegal shrines or their regularisation across the state and sought three months time to do so.
In January this year, the government pleader had assured the high court that the administration would pull down such illegal shrines by May 2016.