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HomeIndiaIllegal excavation in Puri's Jagannath temple, petition alleging construction dismissed, Supreme Court...

Illegal excavation in Puri’s Jagannath temple, petition alleging construction dismissed, Supreme Court said – increasing trend of filing PIL


New Delhi : The Supreme Court dismissed a petition alleging illegal excavation and construction work at the famous Shri Jagannath Temple in Puri. A vacation bench of Justices BR Gavai and Hima Kohli dismissed the PIL and observed that the construction activity is necessary in the larger public interest. The top court said that Public Interest Litigation (PIL) being used for public interest is against public interest.

Increased trend of filing PIL
The apex court said that the trend of filing PILs has increased in recent times. Expressing displeasure over the trend of filing quality public interest litigation, the Supreme Court said that it is an abuse of law. The top court was hearing a plea by Adhendu Kumar Das and others alleging illegal excavation and construction work by the Odisha government at the Sri Jagannath temple in Puri. According to the petition, the state agencies are in gross violation of Section 20A of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Antiquities Act, 1958. The petition alleged that the Odisha government was carrying out unauthorized construction work which posed a serious threat to the structure of the ancient temple.

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No construction was given in the prohibited area
A day earlier, senior advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani, appearing for the petitioner, had said that there is a clear restriction that no construction can take place in the prohibited area, but the state government did not even take permission for the construction. He had said that the state government obtained a no-objection certificate from the National Monuments Authority (NMA) and started construction. Pavani had also said that the NMA cannot issue valid certificates. This can be given only by the concerned Director of Archeology from the Central or State Government.

60 thousand devotees reach daily
Odisha Advocate General Ashok Kumar Parija had said that the authority under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act is the NMA. The Director of Culture, Government of Odisha has been notified as the Competent Authority. He had said that 60 thousand people visit the temple every day. In such a situation, more toilets are needed for so many people. Parija had said that the amicus curiae in the case had mentioned that more toilets were needed. The court had issued directions in this regard.

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