Madras HC orders demolition of Church constructed on govt land

The Madras High Court has directed the Kancheepuram district Collector to demolish, within four weeks, an illegal structure, a church, constructed by a pastor on government ‘meikal poramboke’ land.

Justice S M Subramaniam, who gave the direction last week, also directed the Collector to conduct an enquiry in respect of the negligence, dereliction of duty and lapses committed on the part of the local RDO and the Tahsildar in Sriperumbudur in not initiating action in spite of the complaint and permitting such illegal activities to go on.

Disciplinary proceedings shall be instituted and all further actions against all such officials, who have involved in such activities, be taken.

The judge was allowing a writ petition from M Murugesan, who prayed for a direction to the authorities concerned to maintain the land in Pennalur village as ‘mayanam’ (cremation ground).

After going through the records and listening to the arguments of the counsel for both the parties, the judge found that Pastor C Sathrack had encroached upon the government land and constructed the church despite protests from the villagers and warnings issued by the authorities then and there.

The lower level authorities, including the Tahsildar, had colluded with the encroacher. Hence, the direction to hold an enquiry and take disciplinary proceedings against the officials.

The court also directed the Collector to conduct an enquiry in respect of the resolution passed by the local Panchayat in an unlawful manner and in violation of the provisions of the Act and Rules in connection with the matter and initiate all suitable actions against the persons involved in passing such resolutions.

“It is needless to state that if any such illegal encroachments or illegal constructions of religious institutions are found, then the district Collector is bound to initiate actions by following the procedures as contemplated under law,” the judge added.

Source : Indian Express

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