The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has assured the demolition of an unauthorized temple. It has told the Court that the temple will remain sealed until its demolition.
Brief Facts of the Case
Mr. Sanjay Avasare, resident of Dharavi had filed a PIL in the High Court of Bombay. He is a BMC contract employee at Sion hospital and comes across various Covid-19 cases. His petition concerned the Saidham Mitra Mandal Temple. The temple is present at Ganesh Mandir Marg at Wadala East. It was an unauthorized construction. Following the Court’s direction, the BMC had demolished it in 2017. Under bizarre circumstances, people had constructed it again. The High Court had ordered its demolition for the second time in 2018. The same was not complied with.
The petitioner had stated that there were “irresponsible gatherings” at the temple. This was happening even during the lockdown. These included the play of cards and carom. It was also asserted that this may have led to COVID-19 positive cases in the area. The High Court had directed the BMC on 5th May to file a report after visiting the area.
Contentions of the Parties
The BMC in its response accepted the existence of the unauthorized temple. It assured the Court that the demolition work will take place after the lifting of the lockdown. The counsel for the BMC submitted that it was impossible to carry out the demolition work now. The reason for the same was the lack of police protection. The Counsel for the petitioner Mr. B G Tangsali argued that the BMC can demolish/seal the temple right away. In its response, the BMC assured that the temple will be inaccessible for everyone till then.
Coram – Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S.S. Shinde
The Court observed that BMC has been right, as they had accepted that there has been a re-construction of the unauthorised temple. And that, this re-construction “warrants demolition.” However, the same is impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the corporation at the moment. In the meantime, the Court directed the Corporation to not allow anyone to access the temple. Similar Orders were also issued to the Police Administration. Furthermore, religious activity is now also to be barred in the temple. The listing of the PIL will take place after the lockdown before an appropriate bench. Further, its pendency will not prevent the corporation from proceeding for the demolition.
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