For the Protection of Illegal Religious Structures, Article 25 of The Constitution can’t be invoked: Karnataka High Court in an order

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was given a task to demolish the illegally built religious place of worship, pointed out by a writ petition, but BBMP failed to demolish the structure because Residents Welfare Association (RWA) intervened and contended that protection of religious structures from the wrath of Court is a Fundamental Right enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution.

On the contentions of RWA a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice M. Nagaprasanna said that “The fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution of India does not extend to offering worship or prayers at each and every place. Surely, the fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution of India cannot be invoked for protecting an illegal structure of a temple which is on a footpath. The right to construct unauthorized temples and also on a footpath cannot be said to be an essential part of any religion or religious practice which can be protected under Article 25 of the Constitution of India.”

The Court badly reprimanded on the RWA members on the issue of safeguarding public interest by saying that “The duty of citizens is to see that no illegal structure and especially, illegal religious structure comes up in their locality. But they wanted to protect a temple which has come upon a footpath. If the intention of the applicants was really bona fide, long back, they could have applied for the relocation of the temple from the footpath. But their intention appears to be to protect the illegality. We do not think that any god or religion will support an illegal religious structure which is on a footpath. A religious cannot become an obstacle on a footpath which is meant for walking.”
Case No/Year : WP 46839/2019

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