This commission is of the view that the requested information about “Total number of Mandars, Gurdwaras and Churches, names and locations of all places of worship located in the jurisdiction of Cantonment Board, Nowshera is available with the public body and the same should have been provided to the Appellant. Similarly, information about the places of worship of the minorities, along with names and their locations, in the jurisdiction of Cantonment Board, Nowshera that were constructed before and after partition is available with the public body and should have been provided to the Appellant.
This commission holds that if any place of worship is to be demolished, its demolition is carried out under laws of the land, otherwise such demolition is illegal. As such, the disclosure of the requested information about the minority places of worship which do not exist anymore and the reasons for their demolition is in public interest. Therefore, the Respondent, Cantonment Board, Nowshera should provide the requested information about the reasons in the shape of notification and court orders which led to the demolition of these places of worship.
This commission also holds that public interest trumps privacy of those who now own commercial plots, commercial plazas and houses on lands that were previously the places of worship. This commission holds that if places of worship have been replaced with commercial plot, commercial plaza or a house, it must have been done in a legal manner and under the relevant laws of the land. As such, citizen has the right to know which places of worship have been replaced with commercial plots, commercial plazas and houses.