New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday gave its nod to the reconstruction of the Sant Ravidas Temple, accepting the Centre’s proposal to construct the shrine at the same site where it was demolished in August on the court’s orders.
Attorney General KK Venugopal had earlier submitted that the decision had been taken to ensure peace and harmony, after the demolition at south Delhi's Tughlakabad had sparked widespread protests by devotees.
On Monday, Venugopal said 400 square metres could be allotted, doubling the initial allotment for the reconstruction of the temple. The government has also proposed a committee of devotees to look into how the temple will be managed.
The temple was demolished by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on August 10 following the court's direction as it was built on encroached forest land. The court had observed that “serious breach” had been committed by Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti by not vacating the forest area as ordered earlier.
Following the demolition of the 500-year-old temple, protests had been staged at several places in Punjab and Delhi by political parties and members of the Dalit community. Key organisations advocating for Dalit rights had supported the call for a nationwide bandh.
The issue also took a political hue with various parties demanding that the temple be reconstructed either at the same spot in Tughlakabad forest area or at an alternative location. The gathering in the national capital saw the presence of Delhi’s Social Justice Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and spiritual leaders from the community.
The top court had earlier warned against politicising the temple’s demolition and threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against those provoking dharnas and demonstrations. The Bench had also said that it will not tolerate criticism of the judgement.