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Delhi High Court orders removal of ‘unauthorised’ Shiva and Hanuman temples for Chandni Chowk redevelopment plan

During a previous hearing, the Delhi government had cited law and order as one reason to retain the edifice, causing hindrance in redevelopment work, and only suggested dismantling of a platform (chabutra) around it.

On Thursday, the Delhi High Court ordered the removal of an ‘unauthorised’ temples falling in the middle of the Chandni Chowk main road. These unauthorised temples were falling in the middle of the main carriageway in New Delhi’s Chandni Chowk.

According to the reports, the Delhi High Court bench comprised of justices S Murlidhar and Talwant Singh set aside the decision of the Religious Committee of the Delhi government recommending integration of the building in the area’s beautification and redevelopment plan. The Delhi High Court order overrules the stand of the Delhi government’s religious committee which had proposed to integrate the temple into the plan.

The Delhi High Court also slammed Delhi government for its “u-turn” on the removal of the temples, pointing out that the Delhi government had directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi government in 2015 itself to clear encroachments, including the temple that stalled the progress of Chandni Chowk redevelopment project.

During a previous hearing, the government had cited law and order as one reason to retain the edifice, causing hindrance in redevelopment work, and only suggested dismantling of a platform (chabutra) around it.

Reportedly, the religious committee had earlier agreed to follow with the court orders and had even given an undertaking. However, after a series of meetings held last month, the panel advised the architect to include the Hanuman Mandir and Shiva Mandir, both part of the same structure in the re-development plan.

The court was annoyed with the committee for taking a U-turn in the matter as earlier it had recommended removal of the structure. The court has now asked the government to ensure that its order is implemented in eight weeks.

Last week, the bench had sought the presence of the architect with the relevant drawings to explain the new plan proposed by the Delhi government. however, the architect, who had appeared before the court had added that it is not possible to allow the temple to exist at the present site after dismantling the chabutra platform around the structure.

The court direction to remove the unauthorised temple came only after the architect categorically stated that the structure will hamper the carriageway work.

In 2015, while assessing the progress of the pedestrianisation of Chandni Chowk and building of a dedicated Non-Motorised Lane (NMV) in the area, the court had been informed that five unauthorised religious structures were blocking the right of way in Chandni Chowk.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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