New Delhi Oct 21: The Supreme Court Monday accepted the Centre’s revised offer of 400 sq mt land in Tughlaqabad forest area here for the construction of Guru Ravidas temple which was demolished by the DDA following the court’s earlier order.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Shripathi Ravindra Bhat that the Centre has revised its offer from 200 square metre area for the temple to 400 sq mt keeping in view the faith and sentiments of devotees.
The bench directed the Centre to constitute within six weeks a committee for the construction of the temple in the area earmarked for it.
The bench said that nobody will carry out any commercial activity in the area in and around the place earmarked for temple.
The top court also directed that persons who were arrested during agitations following the demolition of the temple be released on furnishing of personal bond.
The Centre had on Friday told the apex court that it was willing to hand over 200 sq mt of land to devotees for construction of Guru Ravidas temple in South Delhi but with certain conditions.
Venugopal had said he had held consultation with all parties including devotees and government officials and Centre has agreed to give the same piece of land considering sensitivity and faith of devotees for the site.
He had said that only two of the petitioners are not agreeable to the proposal but “the entire belief and faith of the devotees of Guru Ravidas is at the site where he stayed and therefore in the interest of peace and harmony we want to return the site to the devotees”.
The top court had asked the parties to file their response by Monday, if any and said that it would pass order in the matter.
It on October 4, had asked the parties involved in a plea seeking permission to rebuild the Guru Ravidas temple in Delhi’s Tughlaqabad forest area to come back to it with an amicable solution on a better location for the temple.
The temple was demolished by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) following the court’s direction, which had led to massive outcry and protests in the national capital.
The top court had said it respects everybody’s sentiments but the law has to be followed.
The court had earlier questioned the maintainability of a plea asking as to how could it entertain the petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution seeking permission to construct a temple demolished on its orders.
The petition filed by two former members of Parliament — Ashok Tanwar and Pradeep Jain Aditya — had sought enforcement of their right to worship which, they alleged, “was being denied to them due to demolition” of the temple and ‘Samadhi’ in Tughlaqabad.
The former parliamentarians had said that several facts were suppressed during the hearing of a suit before the apex court for removal of encroachment of surrounding areas.
Their counsel had submitted that there were over six crore followers of Guru Ravidas and they have a fundamental right to worship at the said place.
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 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 temple’s demolition had led to a series of protests in places such as 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 top court had earlier warned against politicising the temple’s demolition and said it would initiate contempt proceedings against those provoking protests and demonstrations.