Building Temple Is Another Way To Grab Public Land, Says High Court

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court, in a significant observation, said that building a temple was another method of seizing public land.

Hearing a petition by local people seeking that a temple be spared from demolition to make way for a public road under a town planning (TP) scheme, Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal of the high court said: “This is how people emotionally blackmail everyone. Building a temple is another way of grabbing public land in India.”

The case centres on a challenge filed by 93 households, opposing the construction of a public road under a TP project in Ahmedabad’s Chandlodiya area.

After a single judge dismissed their challenge, the residents appealed before the division bench, comprising Chief Justice Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha Mayee.

The appellants had submitted that they wanted to preserve a temple along the proposed road, highlighting their emotional attachment to the holy place because the entire community had contributed to its construction.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had promised them that no buildings would be destroyed.

The chief justice noted that the land on which the temple is situated is not owned by the appellants, it was built on public land.

“I must stay that this is how you emotionally blackmail everyone. You encroach upon public property. And this is happening everywhere,” the chief justice said.

“By saying that the temple will be removed, you are trying to cash in on emotions (claiming that people will be affected),” she added.

“You put up some signs outside the house and make it a temple. This is another way of land grabbing in India,” the chief justice went on.

The court further suggested that the deity has high significance for the appellants, and can be shifted to some other place, including their homes. “Deity would be shifted somewhere. Deity can be kept in a temple with all dignity, all decorum which is needed for the deity. Then you give one room in your house for the temple if you have so much of … you must spare one room. Temple does not belong to you,” the court said.

Upholding the temporary protection against demolition in its interim ruling, the high court set March 14 as the date for next hearing.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.