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Religious structures, photos of deities in govt premises unconstitutional: HC told
Saturday May 25, 2013 11:42 PM, Special Correspondent

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in Odhisha High Court has challenged the State government's inaction against religious structures in government offices, police stations and other state owned institutions.

The petition filed by Abhiram Mallick, a social activist based in Bhubaneswar also said that photograph of deities put in the premises of govt. offices were unconstitutional.

"We are a secular state which contains the ideals, aspirations and objects that have to be realized through scientific temperament and logical approach covering all aspects of life.

"But unfortunately for last few years the vested interest persons for their personal or group interest have managed to build religious structures, mostly temples inside premises of govt. offices, police stations, universities and colleges even the highest office of the state, the Odisha state secretariat is no exception. Even several deities are installed before every department in front of the entrance gate of departments", Mallick said in the petition.

Mallick further stated in his petition that secularism is one of the basic features of our constitution which means that "the state shall have no religion of its own and the agencies and instrumentalities shall not preach any religion in their public life and also not allow any religion to be flourished or propagated directly or indirectly by the state agency".

"The governmental authorities under obligation to uphold the mandate of the Constitution as well as to protect the law but the authorities intentionally have been encouraging nefarious activities inside govt. premises", he said.

"The State Govt. agencies and instrumentalities have failed to discharge their constitutional, legal and social obligations by allowing the construction of religious structures inside the campus of govt. offices as well as in police stations", he added.

He prayed to the court to direct the opposite parties to demolish the temples and religious structures built over premises of govt. offices, police stations and to remove the photographs of deities from the office of the government and police stations.

He also demanded to appoint an independent agency to make an enquiry into the matter of construction of temple inside state govt. premises and to take appropriate legal action against them who built and maintained the temple.

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