The Madras High Court has ordered notice to the Tamil Nadu government on a plea seeking to demolish worship houses built encroaching government offices, roads, public places, pedestrian pathways and water bodies.
The public interest litigation in this regard was moved by Kancheepuram District Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam president M Kannadasan.
He had contended that most of the traffic disruptions and inconvenience to pedestrians is majorly owing to such illegal constructions of holy places done with a selfish motive of usurping the place.
In a plea moved earlier by one Ramakrishnan seeking to demolish the Vinayakar temple built at the Coimbatore Revenue Office illegally, the Tamil Nadu Municipal Administration had submitted that as many as 3,003 temples, 131 churches, 27 mosques and 7 belonging to other faiths had been built encroaching roads, pedestrian pathways and water bodies, the petitioner said.
He also submitted that the Tamil Nadu government way back in 1968 had passed an order directing the removal of photos and statues of gods and goddesses installed within government office premises.
Thereafter, in 1993 the government had directed all government offices to declare that there exist no worship places within their respective office premises. But contrary to this, the authorities continue to provide permission for construction of worship houses with government office premises, he said.
The PIL also cited a Supreme Court passed in 2009 banning the construction of worship houses in public places.
But none of the directions have been adhered to by the Tamil Nadu government and sought to demolish such holy places, which remain encroachments.