UP seeks SC okay to install statues in public places | India News

NEW DELHI: Keen to install statues of saints, religious leaders, political figures, freedom fighters and martyrs in public places, the Yogi Adityanath government has moved the Supreme Court seeking relaxation of its eight-year-old order banning such activities.
The SC’s order came in a case from Gujarat, where a 2006 court order for removal of religious structures encroaching public places, including roads, at Vadodara had led a mob to pelt the district court with stones and damage vehicles. A series of reports by TOI on this incident was taken cognisance of by the Gujarat HC, which directed the authorities to remove all religious structures from public places.
It had led to further impasse. However, the then UPA government at the Centre moved the SC and got a stay.
After passing several orders, often in vain, for removal of illegal structures from public places over the years, the SC on January 18, 2013 directed state governments “not to grant any permission for installation of any statue or construction of any structure in public roads, pavements, side-walks and other public utility places”. The SC had clarified that this order would not apply to installation of high mast lights, streetlights or construction relating to electrification, traffic, toll or for development and beautification of streets, highways, roads and relating to public utility services.
The UP government’s application, moved last year, came up before the SC for hearing on Monday, only to be adjourned for two weeks again on the request of the state counsel. The UP government said, “Many a time, it is desirable to raise a statue of some religious or political figure for development of an unused or ignored land in a picnic spot or something alike and such statue etc helps that place to be developed and established properly and also to be maintained in a better way.”
Seeking relaxation of the 2013 ban on installation of statutes, the state said it was seeking directions and guidelines for erecting statues at abandoned public places and road-dividers. It said, “Raising statues on road-dividers would not cause inconvenience to the general public and serve aesthetic purposes. Erecting statues on such public places connect people of that area to their cultural roots and reflect the same to visitors and it makes people relate with the place. It helps in encouraging tourism and preserving the culture and history of that particular place or region.”
“Guidelines may be issued for raising statues of freedom fighters, martyrs and great Indian saints in order to instil a sense of patriotism and values in the populace and future generations… Having statues would help the place look aesthetic and better maintained without causing any prejudice to anyone,” the state said.
It said, “Blanket ban on raising of any statue in any public place is ambiguous. The Supreme Court may kindly issue necessary directions clarifying the nature and extent of the structures, statues and public space to be utilised for such purpose.”

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