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Government liable for contempt for delay in reconstructing Guru Ravidas Temple: Ashok Tanwar moves SC

Meera Emmanuel

Member of Parliament Ashok Tanwar has moved the Supreme Court to initiate contempt proceedings against the Government for failing to implement the Court’s 2019 directive for the restoration of idols and the reconstruction of the Guru Ravidas Temple at Tughlaqabad, Delhi (Ashok Tanwar v. Delhi Development Authority & Anr).

The petitioner highlights that the Supreme Court in October 2019 had directed the constitution of a Committee of Devotees to be constituted. The Committee was to implement its order on the issue within six weeks from the date of the order. Tanwar was also to be included in this Committee.

Another order passed in November further clarified that the structure proposed to be constructed would be a permanent structure.

Despite these orders, it has been submitted that the Government is yet to take any steps to implement the directives. In this regard, the Tanwar informs,

"The Petitioner approached the Delhi Development Authority on different occasions but they have failed to take any action. It is submitted that the six weeks time period expired on 02.12.2019, but the Petitioner has not received any communication for formation of Committee of Devotees until date...

… the idol of Guru Ravidas is yet to be restored at the site. In addition, none of the directions of this Hon’ble Court passed in its Final Orders dated 21.10.2019 (modified by Order dt. 25.11.2019) have been implemented.”

Adding to the grievance, Tanwar points out that the Centre has been prompt in implementing the Ayodhya judgment, even though the Ayodhya verdict was passed after the Ravidas Temple order was issued last October. Tanwar argues that,

This in itself is patent discrimination and shows the neglect of the Government towards the Scheduled Caste, mostly who are ardent believers in Guru Ravidas.
Ashok Tanwar

He adds that he did not approach the Court on the issue earlier in view of the Delhi elections as he did not want his grievance to assume political overtones. Now, he has sought the intervention of the Supreme Court over the delay in implementing the orders passed on the issue, arguing that,

“... the delay in construction of Guru Ravidas Temple is causing a lot of anguish and hurting millions of people, not only in India but across the world… the contemnors have deliberately disobeyed the Orders dated 21.10.2019 and 25.11.2019 of this Hon’ble Court, and are liable to be prosecuted for the same.”

Ashok Tanwar

The petition has been filed by Advocate Sachin Mittal and drawn by Advocate Gaurav Pathak

The orders in respect of which the petition has been filed concern a plea filed last year by Ashok Tanwar and Pradeep Jain Aditya, two former Members of Parliament from the Congress party, protesting the demolition of the Guru Ravidas Temple at Tughlaqabad, New Delhi

The demolition of the Temple by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in August last year had provoked large scale protests by members of the Dalit community who follow Guru Ravidas, in whose honour the temple site was revered. Followers believe that Guru Ravidas had stayed at the temple site after it was given to him in 1509 by Sikander Lodhi.

The DDA had carried out the demolition citing a Supreme Court order passed in a long-standing land encroachment dispute.

[Read the contempt petition]

Ashok Tanwar - Contempt Petition - Guru Ravidas Temple.docx
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