UP government orders removal of all roadside religious structures 

The home department has directed the district magistrates (DMs)and Mandalayukta of all the districts to remove all the religious places that encroach the roads.

Created On: Mar 12, 2021 13:18 IST
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The Uttar Pradesh government on March 11, 2021 ordered the removal of all religious structures on public roads. The official press release from the Home Department stated that no structure or construction of religious nature should be allowed on public roads, streets, pavements and by the roadside.

The statement further read that if any such structure construction has come up on or after January 1, 2011, it should be removed immediately.' These instructions have been issued by the state government in compliance with the order of the high court.

Key Highlights 

•The home department has directed the district magistrates (DMs)and Mandalayukta of all the districts to remove all the religious places that encroach the roads.

•All senior administrative and police officials at the district level have been informed that if any such religious construction or encroachment has been done on public roads or pavements including highways on or after before January 1, 2011, then they should be shifted to the land offered by the followers of that religion or private land proposed by the people responsible for its management within six months or will be removed.

•The order states that the concerned officials will be personally held responsible for any deviation or disobedience of these instructions.

•Further, the disobedience of these orders will be taken up as a deliberate contempt of orders of the high court, which will be considered as criminal contempt. 

•All district magistrates have been asked to submit a report by March 14 updating the status on the number of religious places removed after the order.

Background 

The Supreme Court of India in April 2016 had come down heavily on the states for not removing encroachments in public places like illegal religious structures. The court had stated that the unauthorised religious structures on roads and near drains were an insult to God.

The apex court had further stated that everyone has the right to walk and God never intended to obstruct the path meant for the people. "Why shouldn’t these structures go,” questioned a bench comprising SC Justices Gopal Gowda and Arun Misra. 

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