The Uttarakhand High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the notice issued by the state irrigation department to remove a Dargah built on government land in Roorkee.
A division bench of Uttarakhand High Court comprising Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal rejected the petition filed by Gayab Ali Dargah in Roorkee.
The court deemed the structure "an illegal encroachment on land belonging to the irrigation department".
The petitioner claimed that the dargah had a history of 750 years but "failed to provide any evidence to support this assertion", reports Times of India.
The High Court reportedly noted that the Archaeological Survey of India would have been monitoring the structure if it had been centuries old.
The High Court emphasised the importance of the government upholding the rule of law by taking strict action against all unauthorised structures built on public land, regardless of religious or faith-based affiliations.
Earlier on 8 June, the assistant engineer of the north division of Gangnahar, Roorkee issued a notice ordering the removal of an unauthorised structure erected on the irrigation department's land.
The petitioner contested this notice in the High Court. According to the notice, the illegal construction was causing public obstruction and hindering the movement of the general public.
The HC noted that the petitioner had intentionally failed to provide any photographs depicting the nature of the structure claimed to be 750 years old.
The court failed to accept the petitioner's claim that the structure was 750 years old, stating that "a structure with such a long history would exhibit architectural and material characteristics that indicate its age".
"In order to restore people's faith in the rule of law, it is necessary to prevent any individual from occupying government property, erecting religious structures, and thereby depriving the government of its rightful ownership," the court said, ToI reported.
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