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Supreme Court to hear plea for Ravidas Temple’s permanent structure

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New Delhi, Nov 22, 2019-

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a plea seeking a permanent structure for the Guru Ravidas temple in Tughlaqabad forest area, instead of a porta cabin recommended by the Centre. The temple was demolished by DDA in August on the top court’s orders.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra posted the matter for hearing on November 25.

The plea has been filed by former Congress leader Ashok Tanwar and others. In October, the apex court had accepted Centre’s revised offer allocating 400 square metres of land at the site for re-construction of the temple.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing Tanwar, told the bench on the previous hearing, the Centre made the offer, which was not acceptable.

“On October 21, it was submitted before the apex court that the government’s offer of porta cabin made out of wood was not acceptable to the petitioners. Accordingly, the court had also said that the temple should be a permanent structure, and not a porta cabin,” said the petitioners citing that the same instruction of the court, due to typographical and clerical mistakes, did not reflect in the order.

The counsel submitted when the court has allowed the petition and enforced the right to worship, then the court must ensure its direction is meaningful and complete. The petitioners contended the Guru Ravidas Sarovar, adjoining the temple, has also to be restored as per the Centre’s offer. However, the offer details that a boundary fence will come up in the area of 400 square feet.

“It is submitted that this fence will exclude the Guru Ravidas Sarovar and Samadhis, which inexplicably forms part of the Temple and religious activities conducted,” said the petition, seeking to justify the significance of the water body, where thousands of visitors on important occasions conduct kirtans and bhandaras. “Followers of Guru Ravidas take a dip in the Sarovar and believe that it has holy and medicinal qualities,” the plea emphasised.

Therefore, the boundary fence must encloses the temple complex of 400 sq. m. as well as the Guru Ravidas Pond with Samadhis, as it will restore the land area given by Sikander Lodhi which was in use of crores of followers of Saint Ravidas.

The demolition of the temple led to massive protests in the capital, Punjab and Haryana. Initially, the Centre offered 200 sq metres area for the temple, but later revised it to 400 sq metres.

After a stakeholder consultation, the Centre agreed to grant the same land for the construction of the temple considering the importance of the site for the devotees.  (Agency)

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