HC Seeks Report On Encroachments Of Religious Nature In J&K, Ladakh  

J&K High Court – File Pic

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has sought a report regarding unauthorized construction of religious nature on public streets, parks and public places in J&K and Ladakh.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta directed the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh to obtain a report from all the Deputy Commissioners about all the encroachments including their location, area encroached upon and details of the encroacher.

“The above information shall be complied within six weeks,” the court said, adding, “The information shall be placed before the Chief Secretaries of the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, who shall cause the matter to be considered by all the concerned and competent authorities and a policy decision taken.”.

The court was hearing regarding illegal religious structures which have come up by way of encroachment on public land –public streets, public parks and public places.

The matter actually engaged the attention of the Supreme Court and it passed orders with respect to the removal of such illegal religious structures on the public land.

“As an interim measure, we direct that henceforth no unauthorized construction shall be carried out or permitted in the name of Temple, Church, Mosque or Gurudwara etc. on public streets, public parks or other public places etc,” the apex court had ordered.

In respect of the unauthorized construction of religious nature which has already taken place, the State Governments and the Union Territories shall review the same on case to case basis and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible, it had said.

“In order to ensure compliance of our directions, we direct all the District Collectors and Magistrates/Deputy Commissioners in charge of the Districts to ensure that there is total compliance of the order passed by us,” the top court had said, adding, “….The Chief Secretaries, in consultation with the respective Governments are directed to frame the policy in respect of existing unauthorized construction of religious nature, which had already taken place. This Court directed the respondents to review the same on case to case basis. Let the policies be formulated by all the States and the Union Territories.”

To ensure the implementation of directions, the top court had directed that the implementation of the order should be supervised by the concerned High Courts. “We, consequently, remit the above matters to the respective High Courts for ensuring implementation of the orders in effective manner,” the top court had said, adding, “The concerned records be transmitted to the respective High Courts. The interim orders wherever passed, shall continue, until the matters are considered by the High Court.’

In case any clarification was required, the top court said that it would be open to the parties to approach the Court. “The High Court will have the jurisdiction to proceed in the Contempt of any of the orders passed by this Court.” (GNS)

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