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HC tells Nashik civic body: ‘Abide by the rules while taking action against unauthorised religious structures’

The Bombay High Court on Monday said that the Nashik Municipal Corporation is free to take action against unauthorised religious structures erected after September 2009, but only after hearing the affected parties Petitioners Vinod Thorat and Kailas Dinkar Deshmukh, residents of Nashik, approached the high court challenging the civic body’s decision to issue notices of demolition to 530 unauthorised religious structures in August this year. The petition said that the corporation had not followed the due procedure laid down in the Government Resolution (GR) and failed to give opportunity to the stakeholders concerned.

Following directions from the Supreme Court, the state government had came out with the policy to regularise unauthorised religious shrines by issuing GR. According to the resolution, a committee has been constituted to finalise the list of unauthorised religious structures within a period of three months from the date of issuance of the said GR. While the petitioner’s lawyer argued that no show cause notice or due opportunity of hearing were given to the stake holders affected by the action of demolition, the corporation in its defence told the court that they had prepared and published separate lists of religious structures constructed before and after September 29, 2009 on the website of the Nashik Municipal Corporation and Nashik Police.

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