Mumbai: Karnataka CM BS Bommai has tabled the Karnataka Religious Structures (Protection) Bill, 2021 in the state Assembly, seeking to protect religious structures which were constructed illegally in public places. This bill was proposed after his government received backlash on the demolition of a temple at Nanjangud in Mysuru.
In the statement of objects and reasons of the bill the government said, “It is considered necessary to provide for the protection of religious constructions in a public place constructed before the date of commencement of this Act in order to protect communal harmony and not to hurt the religious sentiments of the public. Further, to restrict unauthorized religious structures and constructions in public places in future.” Also Read: 80% Quota In Private Jobs, ₹3,000 Allowance: Kejriwal Makes 7 Job Promises On Goa
“Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force of any judgment, decree or order of any court, tribunal or authority from the date of commencement of this Act, or the rules made thereunder, the government shall protect the religious structures existing on the date of commencement of this Act, in such manner subject to such conditions as may be presented,” the bill further said. Also Read: They’ll Discuss Extremism, Dismantling Terror Networks: India On PM Modi-Biden Meet
The bill made it clear that in any given circumstances if any case relating to the removal of religious places was pending in any court of law, no protection will be provided. It directs the authorities not to allow any religious structure and its construction in future in public places. Also Read: PM Narendra Modi to meet US Vice Prez Kamala Harris on Sept 23
Also, the government made it clear that no suit, prosecution, or other legal proceedings will lie against it or any of its officers or employees for anything, “which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act or rules made thereunder.”
It is to be noted that this bill was introduced just a week after the Karnataka Government drew criticism from within the ruling BJP as well as the opposition Congress party and various other Hindu groups. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was quite vocal against the demolition of a temple in Nanjangud as well. Bommai had also directed officials to wait for guidelines for the demolition process after the backlash.
From time to time, the state government has laid down that religious activity in such protected structures is subject to custom, law, usage, and other conditions.