Apex court allows razing of Lucknow jail

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Wednesday allowed the Uttar Pradesh government to raze a 195-acre jail besides the Ambedkar Park in the heart of Lucknow city for construction of an ecological park there. The court, however, put a rider that the new park should not have any statues of Chief Minister Mayawati or her political mentor Kanshi Ram.

Before allowing the government to raze the old jail and shift it to a new location on the outskirts of the city, the bench took a dig at the Mayawati government’s penchant for stuffing every nook and corner of state with her statues, besides those of late Kanshi Ram and their Bahujan Samaj Party’s election symbol - elephant.

Will this park have statues too?” asked the bench, which also included Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal.

A trifle embarrassed by the judge’s query, state Advocate General P.C. Mishra sought to assure the court that the new ecological park will have neither statues nor memorials of anybody.

Mishra also sought to convince the court that the new jail on the outskirts of Lucknow will be much more spacious.

“A total of 4,660 prisoners can be housed in the new jail, while the old one had just 2,000-odd prisoners,” said Mishra.

The bench gave the order on a lawsuit by the state government challenging May 14 order of the Allahabad High Court that had denied permission to demolish the jail.

The high court’s order had come on a public interest lawsuit, which apprehended that jail was being demolished only to extend the area of the adjacent Ambedkar park and stuff the same with statues.

–Indo-Asan News Service

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