<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Don’t be a dictator, we live in a democratic society, we live in a secular state; you (government) cannot distinguish on the basis of religion,” Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Manjula Chellur said on Thursday, while asking the Commissioner Dairy Development Department and senior officers from the Urban Development Department to remain present in court on November 13, along with records to show why it recommended cancellation of land allotted in Goregaon for the use of a Christian cemetery.Chellur was surprised at the stand of the government that an alternative plot of land was being allotted to the trust in Andheri. United Christian Community Centre, which moved the court, claimed that government after revoking the previous allotment of 12,500 square metres of land for the cemetery has allotted a smaller plot of 2,500 square metres, and has not given possession of the same.”What is the rationale behind recommending cancellation? Are you doing charity work by giving the land? Or does your officer think that people of that community will never die,” the court asked.Advocate Yashwant Shenoy, appearing for the trust, argued that while Hindus and Muslims have been allotted land for cemeteries, Christians have been singled out. Furthermore, from Dahisar to Khar, there is no place available for Christian burial.The plea said that the government has discriminated against the Christian community by not allotting a single burial ground since the year 2000, thereby depriving the community its rights of proper and decent burial of the dead. As per the plea, Brihanmumbai MunicipalCorporation had in 2014 identified a plot of land for the cemetery but it was not handed over. In 2016, reservation was notified but in 2017, the department of animal husbandry refused to hand over the plot.The bench, while reprimanding the government, said: “The preamble of the Constitution of India promises Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens, discrimination will not be allowed.”The plea prays for directions to the government to allot land in Goregaon which was originally conceived and notified.
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