The Bombay High Court has passed an interim direction to the District Committee to take an appropriate decision on a plea alleging unauthorized construction of a Mosque in Jalna.

The District Committee was constituted for each district by the state government by a Resolution of May 2011, with the District Collector as its Chairman, pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court in order to deal with unauthorized construction of religious structures.

"We require the committee to take an appropriate decision in terms of the order of the Supreme Court within a period of two (02) weeks from date.", the Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Ravindra V. Ghuge observed.

A Public Interest Litigation was filed by Arya Samaj Jalna alleging that there has been an unauthorized construction of a Mosque within the municipal jurisdiction of the Municipal Council, Jalna. It was contended that the administration has been lax in taking action to remove the same.

In the affidavit of the Municipal Council, Jalna, it was averred that the council had not granted any kind of construction permission and that the construction on such land had affected the proposed nine metre DP road.

The Supreme Court in 2009 in Union of India vs. State of Gujarat had ordered-

"As an interim measure, we direct that henceforth no unauthorized construction shall be carried out or permitted in the name of Temple, Church, Mosque or Gurudwara etc. on public streets, public parks or other public places etc.

In respect of the unauthorized construction of religious nature which has already taken place, the State Governments and the Union Territories shall review the same on case to case basis and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible.

In order to ensure compliance of our directions, we direct all the District Collectors and Magistrates/Deputy Commissioners in charge of the Districts to ensure that there is total compliance of the order passed by us. They are directed to submit a report within four weeks to the concerned Chief Secretaries or the Administrators of the Union Territories who in turn will send a report to this Court within eight weeks from today."

Advocate Aashish T. Jadhavar appeared for the petitioner.

Additional Government Pleader S. B. Yawalkar appearing for the state pointed out that a District Committee has been constituted by the State Government in pursuance of the order of the Supreme Court and that a decision is required to be taken by such committee on the question of demolition or otherwise of such unauthorizedly constructed mosque.

The Court directed the committee to take an appropriate decision in terms of the order of the Supreme Court within a period of two (02) weeks.

The Court also directed issuance of notice to the non-appearing respondents including the person who is responsible for the construction, informing that the Court would proceed against them ex parte if they are not represented on the next date.

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