Law to Protect Religious Structures on Government Property Now In Effect in India’s Karnataka

© Fotolia / S KВодопад Герсоппа в Индии
Водопад Герсоппа в Индии  - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.10.2021
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Days after a video of a temple in the Nanjangud area of India’s state of Karnataka went viral a couple of months ago, the state government introduced the Karnataka Religious Structures (Protection) Bill.
A law to prevent the demolition of religious structures on government property has come into effect in Indian state of Karnataka.
The Karnataka Religious Structures (Protection) Act was recently passed by the Karnataka Assembly and has now been published in the Karnataka Gazette following the assent of Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot.

The new law states, "Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force or any judgment, decree or order of any court, tribunal or authority from the date of commencement of this Act, subject to the provisions of this Act, or the rules made there under 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 prescribed: Provided that no protection shall be done, if any case relating to their removal is pending in any court of law and in such other circumstances as may be prescribed".

The act bars the construction of any religious structures in public places by the government or local authorities without proper permission in future.
It added that the district administration may allow religious activity in such protected structures, subject to custom, law, usage, and any other conditions as may be laid down by the state government from time to time.
The law also gives protection to the state government as well as its officers or employees with the provision that no legal proceeding should lie against them for anything which is done or intended to be done under this act or rules made thereunder.
There was a huge political furore over the demolition of a temple in the Mysuru region of India’s southern state on 10 September. The demolition was carried out by some district officials as part of a drive against illegal construction. The incident triggered a war of words between members of the governing BJP and the opposition Congress in the region.
This forced the state government to pass the Karnataka Religious Structures (Protection) Bill, 2021 on 21 September amid criticism from the Congress party that the BJP, which had demolished the Mysuru temple 10 days prior, was trying to shield itself from the anger of Hindu groups by passing the law to protect religious structures identified previously as illegal.
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