Madras HC rules that public places cannot be encroached upon for offering prayers

The Madras High Court on Tuesday ruled that public places cannot be encroached upon for the purpose of offering prayers, PTI has reported. This as per the report resulted in the High Court ordering the removal of an illegal structure belonging to members of a “particular community” in Nungambakkam.

As observed by the bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice Krishnan Ramasamy, everyone is entitled by law to pray in a place of worship or their residence, but they cannot do so in a public space which will cause a nuisance to the general public. Under this particular case, the encroachment seems to have been carried out on the pavement opposite to the religious structure.

Owing to this, the judges asserted that it was the duty of the police officials and authorities to remove such encroachments by law. Further, the judges directed the police commissioner to identify the individuals responsible for such an encroachment and file a report.

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The High Court also chided the officials for not taking actions against various illegal constructions despite there being a court order in existence, directing them to do so. The court thus observed that unless its orders are implemented, the people would lose faith in the system.

The High Court has now fixed the next date of hearing as 3 August.

Incidentally, such a ruling by the Madras High Court comes after a big controversy in Gurugram, over the offering of Namaz in public spaces, which was also criticised by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Following the controversy, the Gurugram police had struck up a compromise with Muslim groups to limit the number of Namaz offering places to 13 from the earlier 90.

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