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Factual Background

  • The name of the case was Balakrishna Pillai & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.
  • A batch of petitions filed before the Kerala High Court challenged the acquisition process of land, for widening the National Highway 66 in Kollam.
  • They alleged that the National Highway Authority of India did not follow the directions of the State on the alignment of the widening.
  • The Highway, which is in dispute, has two temples, a mosque and a private mosque on its sides.
  • The Government had suggested for alterations to save the private mosque shifting the concentration to the left, where the temples and mosque are located and the petitioners reside.
  • The authorities contend that there was alteration and the design was made taking into consideration the road geometry, design speed and for saving the religious structures.

Court’s Observation

  • The presence of a temple, mosque or cemetery affecting the acquisition cannot stand as a ground for dropping the acquisition proceedings.
  • The God is omnipresent and he will forgive the people if the religious institutions are to be affected for development.
  • The jurisdiction of the Court has been settled by various previous judgments of the High Court and Supreme Court.
  • In case of lack of illegality or malafides, only the Court has the power to interfere.

Court’s Orders

  • The Court held that the NHAI is a professionally managed body with expertise and there was no mala fide intention on the part of the authorities.
  • The High Court dismissed the petition on the ground of the matter being impermissible for judicial review.

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