Kar HC | Right to construct unauthorized temple and that also on a footpath can’t be an essential part of any religion which can be protected under Art. 25

Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench of Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, CJ and M. Nagaprasanna, J., while addressing a matter held that,

“right to construct unauthorized temple and that also on a footpath cannot be said to be an essential part of any religion or religious practice which can be protected under Article 25 of the Constitution of India.”

Purpose for filing the present petition was pointing out the failure of BBMP to demolish the unauthorized temple constructed on a footpath more particularly described in the petition.

BBMP had assured the Court to remove the illegal structure of the temple on the footpath.

But it has be noted that till today, the illegal structure of the temple has not been removed notwithstanding the grant of time on several occasions.

On 4th March, 2020 I.A. No. 1 of 2020 was filed, wherein the Court observed that,

“applicant was a member of the Residents Welfare Association. As a citizen, the applicant should be interested in ensuring that all the structures in the area are constructed after obtaining due permission from BBMP. A residents’ Association cannot support the illegality especially, when the subject illegal construction carried out is on a footpath.

The duty of the citizens is to assist the Authorities like BBMP to ensure that no illegal constructions come up and the same are demolished. The footpaths are meant for walking by citizens and not for constructing temples. Therefore, I.A.No.1/2020 is rejected.”

The fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution of India does not extend to offering worship or prayers at each and every place. Surely, the fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution of India cannot be invoked for protecting an illegal structure of a temple which is on a footpath.

The right to construct unauthorized temple and that also on a footpath cannot be said to be an essential part of any religion or religious practice which can be protected under Article 25 of the Constitution of India.

Bench stated that the duty of the citizens is to see that no illegal structure and especially, illegal religious structure comes up in their locality. But they want to protect a temple which has come up on a footpath.

We do not think that any god or religion will support an illegal religious structure which is on a footpath. A religious structure cannot become an obstacle on a footpath which is meant for walking.

After one applications of the residents was rejected, this is the second application for intervention which cannot be entertained. In the application it is claimed that the temple was in established in 1854. 

For the above, Court stated that the photographs of the structure clearly shows that the statement was false and the structure appeared to be a newly constructed structure.

Court rejected the application and saddled them with exemplary costs.

Petition was adjourned till 30-07-2020.[ Sanathana Kalakshetra v. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 871 , decided on 14-07-2020]

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