[ecis2016.org] The Madras HC has directed the Tamil Nadu government to file details on the encroachment of public lands by temples, churches and mosques and said the rule of law cannot be diluted, even if the matter pertains to a deity
If a deity in a temple commits an act of encroachment, it has to be dealt with in accordance to the law, the Madras High Court said, on January 4, 2019, while giving direction on a petition filed by one Ramakrishnan, seeking to remove an unauthorised temple in Coimbatore. “(Just) because it is a deity, the rule of law cannot be diluted,” justice SM Subramaniam observed.
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The judge directed officials including the secretaries of the Home, the Highways, the Municipal Administration and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Departments, to file their replies by January 21, 2019. He also ordered them to submit statistics regarding all temples, churches and mosques on encroached public land, ‘poramboke’ (waste) lands and water bodies.
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“Encroachment can never be approved or allowed. Even deity as a legal person cannot commit an act of encroachment,” justice Subramaniam said. Noting that there was a growing trend across the country, of causing inconvenience to vehicular traffic, by constructing religious structures alongside roads without obtaining proper permission from authorities, the judge said the HR and CE department cannot encourage this.
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