SC refuses plea against demolition of jail by Mayawati govt

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to restrain Mayawati Government from going ahead with the demolition of the old jail in Lucknow saying that it has not been declared as a heritage building.

"If it is not declared as a heritage building, we cannot give direction that it should not be demolished," a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam said.

The court was hearing the petition filed by advocate Sangam Lal Pandey questioning the decision of the authorities to demolish the existing jail and allegedly construct certain monuments there.

At the outset, the Bench wanted to know from the advocate whether the jail in Lucknow was declared as a heritage building.

"When you have not stated in the petition that the jail building has been declared as a heritage monument, we cannot do anything," the Bench said.

The apex court also questioned the advocate for raising the issue and asked him how he was concerned with the jail.

Senior advocates K K Venugopal and S C Mishra, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh Government, also raised objections against the petitioner for seeking non-demolition of the jail.

"Why the petitioner is interested in this jail," they said.

The Uttar Pradesh Government had on July 8 assured the apex court that the land would not be used for building monuments.

It had maintained that the old jail premises would be used only for the purpose of setting up an ecological park and not monuments as alleged.

The Lucknow Bench of the High Court had earlier restrained the state government from carrying out any demolition and construction activities in the jail and had asked the authorities to explain its position.

Venugopal informed the apex court that the new jail has been built with all the facilities for 4,660 inmates at a cost of Rs 210 crore and all the prisoners would soon be shifted to that jail.

Bureau Report