Removing religious shrines from public places

This ruling was a long time coming.  Over the years we  have been seeing a small stone / religious place besides a road converting into a massive place of worship that blocks the traffic on the road, creates law and order problems and encroaches on public and private land.   Simply because a few morons decide that its a place fit for worshiping.

Even when the government allocates them alternate land and facilities, they intend to stick to the encroachment beside the public roads as that gives them the leverage to create a nuisance whenever they want to.


I have always believed that a religious structure beside a public road is nothing but a public nuisance.  And this means any religious structure, whether its a temple, mosque, church, gurudwara etc.   Its high time the government picks up the gauntlet and takes on the anti-social elements who use these religious structures to achieve their own narrow political ends.

Am not sure why the Supreme Court is not asking for the current hurdles to be removed and only to prevent such things happening in future.  Does that mean that the tax paying public will still have to struggle traveling on the roads just because some graveyard or religious shrine blocks the access?  Has the dead become so important that the living has no rights?

Though am not a great supporter of Narendra Modi, i very much appreciate his government’s decision of razing of all religious structures that dot the public roads.  It doesn’t matter which religious group has put up the structure.  Anything that is a hindrance to the safety of the people traveling on the roads should be demolished.

Treading a cautious path on places of worship springing up unauthorizedly in public places — including roads — the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that while existing structures may remain, the government must prevent such encroachment in the future.

While acknowledging the difficulty in demolishing existing shrines even if they caused serious traffic bottlenecks, given the sensitivity attached to religious places, a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and M K Sharma found nothing holy about them and stressed to solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam the need for framing guidelines to strictly prohibit religious places from occupying public land unauthorizedly in the future.

Subramaniam assured the Bench that the Centre would take up the issue with the states. The Bench asked the Centre to file an affidavit by September 29 intimating the progress made on the contentious issue.

Interestingly, the proposal for framing guidelines came on an appeal filed by the Centre in 2006, challenging a Gujarat High Court order directing the Modi government to remove all religious structures, without any discrimination, that were encroaching on public land across the state. The SC had stayed the HC directive on May 4, 2006.

When the authorities took steps pursuant to the HC order in Vadodara and started demolishing a dargah right in the middle of a road, violence and riots broke out and the Army had to stage a flag march to bring the situation under control. According to a PIL before the HC, a survey by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation threw up 1,200 temples and 260 Islamic shrines encroaching on public spaces.

Above news source: TimesofIndia



  1. B K CHOWLA says:

    philip,I was very pleased to read the judgement of the SC.Finally,someone woke up to the reality.What happens to the present structures can decided upon later.At least from now this land grabbing will stop.They first erect a small idol,next is temporary expansion and the final stage is to have a PUCCA structure.All this will end.
    If the present structures are removed,it could create a social and political problem.

  2. Liju Philip says:

    I agree if the present structures are removed, there could be issues, but then they are already causing obstruction to the traffic and is a death trap for many motorists daily.

    In the larger interests of public safety, the government should do something about it.

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