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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.

What do you think of the statement of the Court? Tell us in the comments section below!

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