The court, however, did provide a way out for the rebuilding process, saying that the state government's 2008-2009 scheme of providing for restoration of commercial, residential as well as religious structures will apply.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the Gujarat government challenging a 2012 High Court order directing it to compensate for damages caused to religious structures during the 2002 riots for the failure of law and order machinery.
Representing Gujarat, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had asserted that taxpayers' money could not be used for restoration or construction of any religious place.
Commenting in the rebuilding of the religious structures, the Court said that the government's 2008-2009 scheme of providing for restoration of commercial, residential as well as religious structures will apply in the matter.
"Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion: No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes, the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination".
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The court has described the scheme framed by the Gujarat government that caps the compensation at the maximum of Rs. 50,000/- and the condition therein as "quite reasonable".
"The protection of property and places of worship is an essential part of secularism".
This scheme limits compensation to those structures that are authorized and are not located in the middle of a public road.
The people or trust claiming the compensation for damages to the structure will have to establish their ownership before the district authorities.
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