‘Will anyone believe that only 106 illegal religious structures existed on public properties?’

Will anyone believe that there existed only 106 illegal religious structures on public properties in Bengaluru prior to and after September 29, 2009, the cut-off date set by the apex court for regularisation, relocation or removal of such illegal structures, the Karnataka High Court asked the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Monday.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Vishwajith Shetty made these observations while declining to accept the BBMP’s claim that it had identified 106 illegal religious structures put up in the city and initiated action against them as per the law.

The BBMP, the bench said, has not made serious efforts to identify such illegal structures as per the guideline issued by the Supreme Court in its September 29, 2009 directions.

Also, the bench said that the affidavit filed by Additional Chief Secretary Rajneesh Goel does not disclose the steps taken by the government to implement the apex court’s directions to act against illegal religious structures irrespective of religion.

The bench made these observations in its order while hearing a PIL petition, suo motu initiated by the High Court to monitor implementation of the directions issued by the apex court in 2009.

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Sagar Biswas

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