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No places of worship in public areas: SC to Centre

July 31, 2009 14:49 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to ensure that no place of worship is constructed in public places. The apex court asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to file an affidavit in this regard within four weeks.

"The Solicitor General will file an affidavit to ensure that no temple, church, mosque or gurudwara is constructed on a public street or a public space," a bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and M K Sharma said.

The direction to the Centre came during the hearing of the petition challenging the Gujarat High Court order of 2006 by which the authorities in Ahmedabad were directed to demolish all illegal structures, including places of worship, on public roads. The high court order was later stayed by the apex court.

During the hearing, the bench said as far as existing religious institutions are concerned, it can understand that demolishing them will create law and order problems, but the Centre must ensure that no religious places are constructed in future in public places.

The bench said even if a single institution is put up on public place, the officers concerned would be suitably punished. Subramanium said that the Centre will have discussions with all states and try to reach a consensus on this issue. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on September 29.

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