Law & Judiciary

    Delhi HC dismisses plea against PWD's decision to demolish temple hindering traffic

    Chirag Kaul
    May19/ 2023
    Last Updated:

    Delhi High Court

    New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed an appeal against its single judge's order, who had refused to intervene with the Public Works Department (PWD)'s demolition of the Kali Mata Mandir at Mayapuri Chowk since the religious committee has ordered its removal as it is "unauthorised" and "obstructs the free flow of traffic".

    A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was hearing temple priest Durga P. Mishra's appeal.

    The bench also refused to extend the time to remove the idols and other holy items from the temple so that they can be placed in other temples as instructed by the Committee.

    Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Sunil Fernandes argued that the single judge did not apply its mind properly.

    "Due process was ought to be followed. The single judge did not apply its mind properly. We are there since last 55 years. We are not the cause of traffic congestion. We are only saying please conduct a proper inquiry," he argued.

    The court also denied Mishra's request for a month's time to remove the idols from the temple.

    Earlier, a single-judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh while hearing Mishra, observed that as per the sketch and the photographs which have been produced before the court, it is clear that the temple is on government land.

    "In fact, the footpath for pedestrians as also the road has been encroached by the temple which is not permissible. Further, because of the location of the temple i.e. in the corner of two roads, one main road and one arterial road, the smooth flow of the traffic is bound to be impeded," the court had observed.

    The appellant, the temple priest, sought that the Religious Committee's March meeting minutes and the PWD's April notification ordering the temple's demolition be quashed.

    While acknowledging that the temple is on public land, the petitioner insisted that it has no impact on the area's traffic flow.

    The committee's findings that the "temple structure is unauthorised" and that it is hindering traffic movement were noticed by the bench. As a result, it said, the committee had ordered that the illegal religious construction be taken down.

    The court declared that it had no desire to obstruct the structure's demolition.

    The petitioner is allowed to remove the idols and other holy items from the temple within a week so that they can be placed in other temples as instructed by the Committee, the court added.

    After May 20, the court ruled that the PWD might demolish the illegal building and remove it.

    The court stated: "No impediment shall be caused by the Petitioner or anyone on behalf of the Petitioner in the same."

    "The local police shall render full assistance in the process in order to maintain law and order," it said. IANS