Even A Deity Encroaching Public Property Has To Be Dealt With, In Accordance With Law: Madras HC [Read Order]
“The Temples, Churches, Mosques or any other Religious institutions, if constructed by encroaching the public roads causing inconvenience to the vehicular traffic or if any constructed in water resources and water bodies, depriving the citizen to get the water resources, then all are to be dealt in accordance with law”
"An Encroachment is an encroachment. Encroachment can never be approved or allowed. Even Deity as a legal person, cannot commit an act of encroachment. If a Deity in a Temple commits an act of encroachment, that is also to be dealt with, in accordance with law and because it is a Deity, the Rule of law cannot be diluted," remarked the Madras High Court while hearing a plea seeking removal of an unauthorized construction in the name of Vinayagar Temple in the Revenue Divisional Office, Coimbatore.
Justice SM Subramaniam observed that a large number of temples on the public roads, government poramboke areas, water bodies and water resources are being constructed by land mafias and greedy men for their personal gains and for unlawful enrichment, to grab the land or for personal unlawful enrichment. The court said that such temples on roadsides are constructed without obtaining proper permission from the competent authorities and is causing inconvenience to the vehicular traffic and passers-by.
The court also observed that the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department should not encourage such attitude of the people in respect of construction of temples by encroaching the public lands and the public roads. "It amounts to abuse of sentiments and emotions of the people with reference to their Religious faiths and sentiments," the court added.
The court further observed: "India being a Democratic, Social and Secular, people are following various Religious faiths and sentiments. Unity in Diversity is the beauty of this country. All concerned are bound to follow the rule of law and respect the law for an orderly society and to respect the sentiments of their neighbours and all other citizens. The Temples, Churches, Mosques or any other Religious institutions, if constructed by encroaching the public roads causing inconvenience to the vehicular traffic or if any constructed in water resources and water bodies, depriving the citizen to get the water resources, then all are to be dealt in accordance with law as stated earlier by this Court. Deity being a legal person cannot be allowed to encroach the public land with the help of few land mafias or some land grabbers."
The bench then posted the matter to 21st January, requiring the counsel for various authorities to furnish statistics regarding the existence of all such temples, churches and mosques on encroached public land, poramboke lands, water bodies and water resources.