SC Busts Maya Statue Spree

Ordering the immediate discontinuation of construction being carried out at the BR Ambedkar Park in Lucknow and six other memorials of Dalit icons, the Supreme Court on Friday set 1900 hrs as the deadline for compliance.

A bench comprising of Justice BN Agrawal and Justice Aftab Alam asked the state government to vacate all the memorial sites and clear all the construction materials and workers.

The bench passed this stern order while also issuing contempt to court notice to the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary seeking his explanation as to why the government continued construction activities at various memorial sites violating a September 8 order, following which the government had given an undertaking that it will not carry out any further construction.

The court issued the order while taking suo-moto cognizance of media reports that the state government was continuing construction at Ambedkar Park despite its undertaking.

The Supreme Court had on September 8 criticized the Uttar Pradesh government for spending Rs 2,600 crore on memorials for Kanshi Ram and other Dalit leaders in Lucknow, saying it would examine the constitutional validity of such memorials for political leaders using taxpayers’ money.

The bench had said that the government cannot “fritter away” public money on such memorials. The Mayawati government had triggered a controversy by changing the land use of certain areas adjoining the 35-acre sprawling Ambedkar Sthal park green belt area by demolishing 30-odd public buildings to construct memorials.

Several public interest petitions have been filed against the UP government building memorials.

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