The Supreme Court on Monday approved Centre’s proposal to reconstruct Guru Ravidas Temple at the same site where it was demolished in August on court’s order on the protected land of Tughlaqabad forest area here.
The court directed the Central government to form a committee within six weeks to oversee the construction work.
The apex court also directed to release all people, arrested during the protest demanding construction of temple, on personal bonds, appealing “let there be peace”.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Ravindra Bhat allowed the Central government’s proposal to increase the area to be allocated for Ravidas shrine.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that the Centre is ready to allocate 400 square metres of land.
Earlier, the Centre on October 18 told the Supreme Court that it is willing to hand over 200 square meter area of land to a committee of devotees for construction of Guru Ravidas temple in South Delhi.
The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra and S Ravindra Bhat took on record the offer made by Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Central government, and asked parties seeking construction of a temple to submit objections, if any by Monday.
The top court has, however, directed not to carry out any commercial activities including paid parking in the temple.
The government told the court it has paved way for construction of temple to respect the sentiments of devotees.
Earlier, the Attorney General told the court that the Central government has agreed to give the land to devotees considering sensitivity and faith, after holding a consultation with all concerned parties including devotees and government officials.
Earlier, on October 4, the Supreme Court has asked the parties involved in the plea seeking permission to rebuild the Guru Ravidas temple in Tughlaqabad forest area to come up with an amicable solution on a better location for the temple.
The apex court asked Attorney General K K Venugopal and all parties to hold discussion and find an amicable solution on a better location where the temple can be built.
The DDA had demolished the temple pursuant to the orders of the apex court, which had on August 9 observed that “serious breach” had been committed by Guru Ravidas Jayanti Samaroh Samiti by not vacating the forest area as earlier ordered by the top court. The Supreme Court had said it respects everybody’s sentiments but the law has to be followed.
On August 27, the two former parliamentarians from the Congress party had moved the apex court seeking its nod to re-construct the temple, saying it is a pious site and prayers were held there for the last 500-600 years.
The petitioners had said that they are devout followers of Guru Ravidas and used to pray regularly at the site.
The temple’s demolition led to a series of protests in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana and the apex court had on August 19 directed the authorities in these areas to ensure that no law and order situation is created politically or otherwise. The national capital also witnessed protests by the Dalit community on August 21 led by Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad for the demolition of Ravidas temple by Delhi Development Authority.