Smsj even the God, as a legal person, cannot commit an act of encroachment.

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has held that even the God, as a legal person, cannot commit an act of encroachment. If the deity in a temple commits an act of encroachment, that is also to be dealt with in accordance with law and just because it is a deity, the rule of law cannot be diluted.

All concerned are bound to follow the rule of law and respect it for the sake of an orderly society and to respect the sentiments of their neighbours and all other citizens, Justice S M Subramaniam said while passing interim orders on a writ petition from K Ramakrishnan praying for a direction to the Coimbatore District Collector and the local RDO to remove the unauthorised construction of the Vinayakar temple at the premises of the Revenue Divisional Office.

The judge said that a large number of temples on the public roads, government poromboke lands, waterbodies and water resources were being constructed by a few land mafias and greedy men for their personal gains and for unlawful enrichment. The growing trend across the country is that a few men are constructing temples on public roads, causing greater nuisance to the vehicular traffic and to the movement of the people in the locality.

Such temples on the public roadsides are constructed without obtaining proper permission from the competent authorities. The HR&CE Department cannot encourage such an attitude. “Under these circumstances, if the temples, churches and mosques or any other religious institutions are constructed by encroaching on the public roads causing inconvenience to the vehicular traffic or if anyone of them is constructed on water resources and waterbodies, depriving the citizens of water access, then all are to be dealt in accordance with law,” the judge said and impleaded suo motu the State Home, Municipal Administration, Highways and HR&CE departments as party-respondents in the case.

Directing the authorities concerned to file reports with relevant statistics concerning the encroachment of public land by religious institutions for taking appropriate action, the judge adjourned the matter to January 21.

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