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SC Declines To Entertain Plea For Rebuilding Of Religious Structures Allegedly Torn Down During Telangana Secretariat Demolition

Sanya Talwar
24 Aug 2020 7:42 AM GMT
SC Declines To Entertain Plea For Rebuilding Of Religious Structures Allegedly Torn Down During Telangana Secretariat Demolition
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The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking re-building of the religious places, situated within the Telangana State Secretariat Building, that were allegedly torn down while demolition of the Secretariat Building.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan & Subhash Reddy  observed that the prayer could not have been allowed under Article 32 as it was the Telangana High Court which had permitted the demolition of the secretariat building.

"I am not concerned with the secretariat building. I am concerned with two mosques and 1 temple which have been demolished. They must be resurrected" submitted Advocate Khaja Aijazuddin appearing in person for petitioner.

The bench however, was not inclined to hear the plea and thus allowed the petitioner to withdraw it.

The petition has been filed by Advocate Khaja Aijazuddin, practicing Advocate at Telangana High Court, alleging that two Mosques and one Temple, situated/ within the vicinity of the Secretariat Building were damaged during the demolition process.

A Division Bench of the Telangana High Court had refused to interfere with the State Government's decision to modify/ demolish the old Secretariat Building to construct a new one, last month. An appeal against this order was dismissed by the Top Court holding that the High Court had already rendered the decision on merits.

Accordingly, the demolition work commenced, allegedly damaging the religious places situated therein.

The present plea, though not concerned with the demolition of the Secretariat per se, avers that the religious places situate therein have existed since a long time and their demolition amounts to deprivation of citizens' fundamental rights enshrined under Articles 14, 21, 25 and 26 of the Constitution.

It is contended that the Government is statutorily bound to protect these religious places and it is incumbent upon them to rebuild the structures, at the same place where they previously stood.

However, it is alleged that the Government has finalised the construction design of the new Secretariat, while there is 'not even a whisper' about inclusion of the temple and/ or the Mosques in the new Plan.

In this backdrop, the Top Court has been urged to term the demolition of Religious Places as highly unwarranted, illegal and unconstitutional and to direct the competent authorities discharge their statutory duties to protect the Religious Places and to act in accordance with the law.

It is prayed that the State Government be directed to pass an Executive Order or Resolution in the State Assembly, making a commitment to rebuild the Religious Places, i.e., two Mosques and one Temple, within the Secretariat Complex Building, at the same places where the structures previously stood.

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