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India: Public Interest Litigation against temples and other religious structures inside government premises in Orissa

20 May 2013

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The Times of India

HC moved over religious structures in government offices

TNN May 16, 2013, 04.23AM IST

CUTTACK: As the demolition drive continues here, a PIL was filed in the Orissa high court on Wednesday seeking demolition of similar structures built on the premises of government offices, government educational institutions and police stations.

The PIL has been filed by a social worker Abhiram Mallick alleging that the Constitution clearly states that the state shall have no religion of its own and the state agencies and instrumentalities shall not preach any religion in their public life and also not allow any religion to flourish or be propagated directly or indirectly, but government officials are violating it. Even the highest office of the state, the Secretariat, is no exception. The petitioner has alleged that India is a secular state and constitutionally it should not promote any particular religion but authorities intentionally have been encouraging nefarious activities by constructing temples and other religious structures inside government premises.

The government has failed to discharge constitutional and legal obligations by allowing construction of religious structures, hence responsibility should be fixed and stringent action taken against the erring officials, alleged the petitioner. Mallick has further alleged that due to callous attitude of the government, the social and secular fabric of the state are in peril.

The petitioner has also mentioned in the PIL that he had sought information under RTI about the number of religious structures built within the premises of government offices and educational institutes, but the information officer of home department stated that no such information was available.

The petitioner had approached the DGP and general administration department and prayed to them to remove religious structures from the premises of government offices but they paid no heed following which Mallick moved the high court to get justice.

"We have prayed the court to order demolition of religious structures built inside the premises of government offices, government educational institutes and police stations," said Khirod Rout, the petitioner’s counsel.

P.S.

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