Supreme Court will examine whether land can be allotted to private bodies for construction of religious structures in a secular country.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday decided to examine whether land can be allotted to private organisations for construction of religious structures in a secular country as India.
A bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, while posting the matter for final hearing on March 20, asked the apex court registry to list all related matters pertaining to land allotted by states for construction of religious structures.
P.V. Dinesh, appearing for Muslim Cultural Association, said land allotment does not affect India’s secular character.
The bench was hearing a special leave petition filed in 2008 by the Federation of Chennai Suburban Welfare Association challenging the allotment of government land in 1981 to a Muslim cultural association for construction of a mosque.
The Madras High Court in 2007 upheld the allotment of 0.27 acre at Ullagaram panchayat on the outskirts of Chennai.
In approving the allotment, the high court said merely because the land is allotted for religious purpose does not mean it will not change the secular character of the state.
The High court had said, “Since India is a country of great diversity, it is absolutely essential if we wish to keep our country united to have tolerance and respect for all communities and sects.”
“It was due to the wisdom of our founding fathers that we have a Constitution which is secular in character, and which caters to the tremendous diversity in our country.”
The current appeal is directed against this judgment. Even when the litigation was pending, the municipality had sought for the land for parking Municipal vehicles.