Supreme Court orders state to file progress report on functioning of Waqf courts

On Monday, the Supreme Court asked the UP state why there is only one Wakf court operating in the entire state of Uttar Pradesh. A Chamber of Judges L Nageswara Rao and BRGavai was hearing a special leave application filed against the contested order and judgment of the Allahabad High Court.

In the Allahabad High Court, the petitioner challenged the notification issued by the state government pursuant to the 2013 amendment to the 1995 Wakf Act. By the 2013 amendment, Parliament amended the article 83 (4) of the Wakf Law, 1995 which stipulated that in each district, a Wakf court would be constituted to deal with Waqf disputes. Under the powers under the amended section, the state government had established Waqf courts in just two locations across the state – Lucknow and Rampur – in place of the odd number of 70 courts previously existing. operational.

The High Court of Allahabad in its contested order and judgment dismissed the motion in brief and noted that the net effect of the amendment is that the single-member Waqf courts would cease to exist and that the multi-member Waqf courts in Lucknow and Rampur would deal with the issues in question. The High Court also noted that “none of the applicant’s acquired rights could be considered to be violated” when the application was dismissed.

Before the Supreme Court, Lawyer Atif Suhrawardy appearing for the Applicant argued that although the Apex Court in the Lal Shah Baba Dargah Trust case made it clear that a single member of the Waqf Courts would not cease to exist due to the constitution of multi-member Courts, the situation on the ground in UP has only two – member courts have been constituted. He further argued that the constitution of multi-member tribunals is nothing more than an improvement in the constitution of the Tribunal and that the earlier and superseded sections are not incompatible with each other. He also pointed out that at present, only one Waqf court was functioning in the entire state of the UP.

The judiciary asked the state prosecutor why these Waqf courts were not constituted despite the Apex Court ruling in Lal Shah Baba Dargah Trust Vs Magnum Developers.

In Lal Shah Baba Dargah Trust Against Magnum Developers the Supreme Court had noted that it was wrong to consider that after the entry into force of the amending law of 2013 one-member courts would cease to exist even if a new notification of the constitution of three-member courts had not not notified. The Supreme Court noted that “We must keep in mind that it is common practice for the old institution / member to continue to exercise its functions until such time as a new institution / member takes over that function. Also in this case, the single member tribunal will continue to exercise jurisdiction until the state establishes a three member tribunal by notification in the Official Gazette.

During Monday’s proceedings, the lawyer reported to the judiciary that Judge Nageswara Rao appeared for the Waqf board of directors in the Shah Baba Dargah Trust case. “We don’t even remember representing anyone,” Judge Nageswara Rao replied.

The judiciary questioned the UP state council on why a single Wakf court was operating across the state of Uttar Pradesh despite the Apex Court ruling in the Lal Shah Baba Dargah Trust case . He noted that he would demand a detailed report on the status and functioning of courts in the state before ruling on the matter. To that end, he ordered that the case be indexed after three weeks and that the UP state file a progress report on the constitution and functioning of the Waqf courts in the state in the meantime.

Case title: Shah Alam v. Union of India & Others

Counsel: Adv Atif Suhrawardy for the Applicants; AOR Pradeep Misra and Adv Sanchit Garg for respondents

Read / Download the Order here

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