SC to Centre on Taj Mahal: ‘Either we’ll shut it down or you demolish or restore it’

Taj Mahal

Supreme court directed the Centre to furnish details of steps taken and action required for protecting the iconic monument that draws thousands of tourists from India and abroad each year 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the Centre and its authorities for their "lethargy" in taking steps to protect the Taj Mahal, dubbing the issue of preserving the historic medieval structure a "hopeless cause".

“Either we will shut down the Taj or you demolish or restore it,” the court reportedly told the government. The apex court also expressed anguish over the Uttar Pradesh government failure to come out with a vision document to preserve and protect the Taj Mahal.

The top court was hearing a petition that calls for proper maintenance of the 16th century marble mausoleum that draws thousands of tourists from India and abroad each year.

It directed the Centre to furnish full details of the steps taken and action required to be taken for protecting the iconic monument.

A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said no concrete steps have been taken by the government, despite a parliamentary standing committee report on Taj's protection.

The Centre told the bench that Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur was assessing air pollution level in and around the mausoleum and will give its report in four months.

It said a special committee has also been set up to find the source of pollution in and around the Taj, which will suggest measures to prevent it.

The bench said it will hear the matter on day-to-day basis from July 31.

Earlier on Monday, the SC had refused to allow prayers by outsiders- that is, not locals - at the mosque on the premises, saying the monument’s preservation is paramount.

With PTI inputs

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