Monday, December 11, 2023

Central Government informs Delhi High Court about 120 petitions which pending before various High Courts challenging Waqf Act

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The Central government apprised the Delhi High Court about 120 petitions which pending before various High Courts across the country challenging the provisions of the Waqf Act, 1995.

Central Government Standing Counsel (CGSC) Kirtiman Singh informed the Court about the same today and moved an application seeking more time to file a response to the petitions against the Waqf Act.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Datta asked the government counsel to take steps and obtain instructions for consolidation and transfer of all the matters to the Supreme Court.

The Court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the provisions of the Waqf Act. One of these petitions is by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay.

The government in its application said that there are several matters which remain pending across the country which challenge one or more provisions of the Waqf Act, it is necessary that it takes a considered and consistent view.

The Government submitted that keeping in view the multiple petitions challenging various sections of the Waqf Act, 1995, it is essential for the Respondents/Applicants (Central government) to ensure that a clear and consistent view is taken.

It states that this would involve thorough examination of petitions, consultation/vetting by the Government Counsels and discussions with other stakeholders, such as State Governments,

The High Court will hear the case next on July 26.

In his plea, Upadhyay has argued that the Waqf Act is made for the management of waqf properties but there are no similar laws for followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Judaism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

The plea is “against the secularism, unity and integrity of the nation.

It stated that the Waqf Board has Muslim MLA, MP, IAS Officer, town planner, advocate and scholars, as its members who are paid from the public exchequer despite the fact the Centre doesn’t collect any money from mosques or dargahs.

Upadhyay contended that states collect around one lakh crores from four lakh temples but there are no similar provisions for Hindus. The Act clearly offends the Article 27 of the constitution.

The plea stated that unbridled power has been given to the Waqf Act , not only this but also they are also treated differently and are placed much above any charitable board.

The “Petitioner has challenged the validity of Section. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14 of the Act, as these provisions grant special status to Waqf properties denying equal status to Trust, Mutts, Akharas, Societies.

It has also contested that Hindus, Jains, Buddhist have no safeguard for their properties which are taken care for the Waqf board which shows that a partial treatment is met

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