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Plea for Reconstruction of Guru Ravidas Temple be Placed Before CJI: Supreme Court

The petition has been filed by two former members of Parliament — Ashok Tanwar and Pradeep Jain Aditya — who have sought enforcement of their right to worship.

PTI

Updated:September 17, 2019, 9:37 AM IST
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Plea for Reconstruction of Guru Ravidas Temple be Placed Before CJI: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of India. (News18 Creative)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said a plea seeking permission for reconstruction of the Guru Ravidas Temple in Tughlaqabad forest area here, which was demolished by the DDA on the apex court's direction, should be placed before the Chief Justice of India for "appropriate orders".

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had demolished the temple pursuant to the orders of the apex court, which had earlier observed that "serious breach" had been committed by the Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti by not vacating the forest area as earlier ordered by the top court.

When the fresh plea came up for hearing on Monday before the top court, a bench of justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna was told by senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioners, that the temple was demolished while complying with the April 8 order of the apex court that was dealing with the issue of unauthorised constructions.

"Having regard to the submissions made at the bar, the matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India for appropriate orders for placing this issue before the bench which passed the earlier order dated April 8, 2019," the bench said.

The bench was told that Guru Ravidas has crores of devotees and the temple, which was demolished, has religious and cultural significance.

The petition has been filed by two former members of Parliament — Ashok Tanwar and Pradeep Jain Aditya — who have sought enforcement of their right to worship which, they alleged, "is being denied to them due to demolition" of the temple and 'Samadhi' in Tughlaqabad.

The temple's demolition had led to a series of protests in places such as Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, and the apex court had on August 19 directed authorities in these areas to ensure that no law and order situation is created politically or otherwise.

On August 27, the two former parliamentarians had moved the apex court seeking its nod to reconstruct the temple, saying it is a pious site and prayers were held there for last 500-600 years.

The petitioners have said they are devout followers of Guru Ravidas and used to pray regularly at the site.

"The site at which the temple/Guru Dham and 'Samadhi' were present is pious and of immense faith to the believers as Saint Guru Ravidas had stayed at the site, and it was given to him by Sultan Sikander Lodhi in 1509," the plea said.

It said that the land, where the temple was situated, is of "utmost historical and religious importance" to all followers of Guru Ravidas as he himself had lived there.

The plea said that on August 10 the DDA demolished the temple and also took away from the site the idol of Guru Ravidas, which was kept there.

"It is submitted that the site itself is pious and has been worshipped for the last 500-600 years and is protected as per the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991," the plea said.

The plea said the temple and adjoining structures had been present there for the last 600 years and prior to any masterplans and hence, "no violation can be caused by a historical structure, which has come under green zone under laws which are subsequent to structure".

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