The bench said that there were 2,402 illegal religious structures in Hyderabad.

Telangana HC pulls up govt over its failure to demolish illegal religious structures Wikimedia Commons - Chiranjeevi.anisetti
news Court Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 10:37

Expressing dissatisfaction, the Telangana High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the state government over its failure to prevent the construction of unauthorised religious structures across Hyderabad. 

The court asked what action the government had taken so far to prevent the construction of illegal religious structures, which are being built in public places in the city.

The court made these observations while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea filed by Human Rights and Consumer Protection Cell, challenging the construction of a temple in Rock Gardens in Madhavapuri Hills in Ameenpur. This PIL was filed in 2018.

The Hindu reported that the bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy asked the advocate commission to conduct a field visit and report to the court.

The commission is directed to submit a report by March 13. Further, the court directed the temple committee to pay Rs 50,000 to the advocate commission member Praveen Reddy.

The bench then sought to know what actions the government had taken over the other illegal religious structures built in the city.

The Times of India quoted Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan stating that there were 2,402 illegal religious structures in the city until 2010, which must have gone up by now. The CJ made it clear that neither the constitution nor the courts will offer any protection to patently illegal structures, even if they were religious in nature.

Referring to Government Order (GO)262 (which was issued on March 31, 2010) which had guidelines to deal with illegal buildings and unauthorised religious structures, the bench pulled up Principal Secretary of Municipal Administration Arvind Kumar and asked what  plans the government had in store. For this, Arvind responded that they were demolishing illegal religious structures. Arvind explained that if the structure is old they are holding discussions with stakeholders and convincing them to bring it down. Irked with the response, the bench asked what the government would do if the deliberations failed. The bench asked the government not to shy from the law and asked them to send a strong message by demolishing illegal structures to show that they won't tolerate illegal structures even under the garb of religious freedom. 

The issue was posted for further hearing to March 16.