Thursday, June 30, 2022

Madhya Pradesh High Court dismisses PIL alleging installation of statue in public place

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The Madhya High Court has dismissed a PIL, which alleged that the respondents were attempting to put up a statue in the premises in a public place.

The case of the petitioner (Dattu Medhe) is that he represents the public by filing the petition. The respondents are attempting to put up a statue in the premises of the old Government Hospital, Shahpur, District Burhanpur vide communication dated 01.10.2021 issued by the Municipal Council , Shahpur. The place where it is sought to be put up is a public place and therefore, the same cannot be put up. At the same time, a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj already exists in the same location and therefore, a new statue cannot be put up, alleged the Petitioner.

According to the Petitioner the Supreme Court in the order dated 18.01.2013 passed in SLP (Civil) No.8519 of 2006 (Union of India Vs. State of Gujarat & others) have ordered for restrictions in the manner in which the statues have to be put up and related matters. That the same is being disobeyed. Hence, the PIL has been filed to quash the communication with regard to the installation of the statue in question.

A reply has been filed by the State. They have stated that the statue is being put up without violating the orders of the Supreme Court or the orders of the High Court. The land on which the statue is being put up is in accordance with law. The appropriate permissions of the authorities have been taken. In fact the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is situated at a different place and the same is not being disturbed. The pleading to this effect made by the petitioner is factually incorrect. They have also filed a copy of the Khasra which indicates the nature of the land and also a photograph of the proposed statue under construction has been filed.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav, after hearing the counsels on March 23, considered the order of the High Court passed in Greeshm Jain vs State of M.P. & others dated 03.03.2022 .

The Court observed that various directions were given with regard to the statues being put up. One of the directions is that the respondents be restrained from installing any statue on public roads, pavements, sideways and any other public utility place. Herein the petitioner’s counsel submits that it is a public utility place.

Therefore, the statue cannot be put up. However, a copy of the extract of Khasra would indicate that even though it is government land, it cannot be said to be a public property. The document also does not indicate that the land where the statue is sought to be put up is either a public road, pavement, sideways or other public utility place, held by the Bench.

“Hence we are of the view that there is no violation of the orders of this Court. The statue is being put up in accordance with law. It does not hamper the movement of the public in any manner whatsoever. It appears that it is being put up in the residential area which does not affect the movement of the local residents living therein. It is certainly not being put up on a public road which hampers the movement of the public. Hence, we find no reason to interfere in this petition. The writ petition is dismissed”, the order reads.

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