'Guru Ravidas Temple to be a Permanent Structure With a Fence': Supreme Modifies Earlier Order [25-11-2019]

New Delhi:- The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the construction of a permanent structure for the Guru Ravidas temple in the Tughlaqabad forest area here instead of a wooden porta cabin as suggested by the Centre.

The top court also allowed the plea seeking enclosure of the Guru Ravidas pond within the temple's fence so that it becomes a part of its complex.It also observed that devotees of Guru Ravidas will no longer face any problems and the agencies will cooperate in the construction of the temple

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Surya Kant modified its earlier order of October 21 which had mentioned construction of a wooden porta cabin temple. Senior advocate Vikas Singh alongwith advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for former Congress MP Ashok Tanwar and former union minister Pradeep Jain Aditya said that they had earlier informed the court during the hearing of the matter on October 21 that the Centre's offer of a porta cabin made of wood was not acceptable to them.

They said that even the court had agreed that the temple will be a permanent structure but it was not reflected in the orders of October 21. Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, did not oppose the submission of Singh and Gupta, after which the court directed for modification of its earlier order.

The top court had on October 21 accepted the Centre's revised offer of allotting 400 square metres land at the site for re-construction of the temple which was demolished by the DDA in August following its previous order.

The petition by Tanwar and Aditya said that the Guru Ravidas Sarovar, that exists next to the temple, has to be restored as per the Centre's offer. It sought direction that the boundary fence enclose the Guru Ravidas Pond and the samadhis so that they are included in the temple complex.

The temple was demolished by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) following the apex court's August 9 direction which had observed that "serious breach" had been committed by the Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti by not vacating the forest area as earlier ordered by the top court.

The demolition had led to a massive outcry and protests in the national capital and other parts of the country. The Centre had earlier offered to give 200 sq mt area for the temple's construction but later revised the proposal to 400 sq mt keeping in view the faith and sentiments of the devotees.

The Central government had said it would constitute a committee for managing the temple's affairs after which the top court had directed it to constitute within six weeks the committee for construction of the temple in the area earmarked.

The top court had also made it clear that nobody would carry out any commercial activity in the area in and around the place earmarked for the temple. The Centre had earlier said that consultations with all parties, including devotees and government officials, were held after which it was agreed that the same land will be given for the temple's construction considering the importance of the site for the devotees.

The DDA had demolished the temple pursuant to the orders of the apex court, which had said: "Let the premises be vacated by tomorrow and structure be removed by the DDA with the help of the police". The temple's demolition had led to a series of protests in places such as Delhi, Punjab and Haryana and the apex court had on August 19 directed the authorities in these areas to ensure that no violations of law and order take place for political benefits or otherwise.

The top court had earlier warned against politicising the temple's demolition and said it would initiate contempt proceedings against those provoking protests and demonstrations.

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26 Nov 2019