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HC gives 3 months time to government to remove illegal shrines

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The Bombay High Court gave till December 2016 to the Maharashtra government to remove, shift or relocate illegal shrines in the state in keeping with its policy notified in a government resolution (GR).

A division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka was hearing a batch of PILs urging the authorities to remove illegal shrines in Maharashtra.

it said it would pass an order on October 1 on the PILs and posted the matter for directions on that day.

The judges had observed on Tuesday 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 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,” the bench had observed.

The government filed an affidavit, saying that 871 unauthorised constructions existed in the state after September 29, 2009. Of these, 225 had been demolished and the remaining still existed.

As per the affidavit, total illegal religious structures which existed before the cutoff date of September 29, 2009 were 49,849. Of these, 34,276 had been regularised leaving behind 11,942. Of the remaining, 421 were demolished and 69 had been shifted. The rest still exist.