Delhi HC notice to Centre on PIL challenging Waqf Act

The bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla on Thursday sought the response of the Ministry of Law and Justice and Central Waqf Council.
Delhi HC notice to Centre on PIL challenging Waqf Act
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the Waqf Act 1995 and calling it an entirely violative inter-alia of the scheme of the Constitution and more particularly Articles 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 25, 26 and 300A. The plea also sought direction to declare that only a Uniform Civil Code can govern the private properties of Citizens under the Constitution.

The bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla on Thursday sought the response of the Ministry of Law and Justice and Central Waqf Council. The Court listed the matter for hearing on July 28, 2022, and tagged the matter with another PIL having similar kinds of prayers. The petitioner Devendra Nath Sharma, a practising lawyer stated that the Union of India (State) doesn't have the legislative competence to make laws with respect to Waqf and religious Muslim properties at the exclusion of non-Muslim citizens of India.

The petitioner stated that the law must be for all and must not be oppressive towards one set of citizens, without any reasonable basis. The Waqf Act, 1995 is arbitrary as the legislature doesn't have the required competence to make such laws under entry 10 or 28 of the Concurrent-list of in Schedule and therefore the same must be struck down by this Court. In the alternative, the state control of the Waqf properties must be stopped and Waqf Central Council should be made to follow the due process of law u/a 21 for its subjects, added the plea.

The plea further stated that the superintendence and management by the Welfare State of the personal properties of Waqf have no 'Public-Purpose' and therefore no duty is cast upon the Welfare State to control or manage the Waqf properties under the said Waqf Act, 1995. The upkeep and control of religious Waqf properties in India is a private affair/purpose and not a public purpose, therefore State can't be permitted to manage the same at the expense of public money. There is no public purpose in managing, protecting and supervising the Waqf properties across India, at State expense. The appointment of Central Government and State Government or any public servant is an abuse of the public money. In a Secular State, State can't be looking after the personal affairs of a religious minority or a majority, unsupported by legislative powers. The Waqf Act unfairly talks about appointing "Muslim" Officers for public purposes, if at all managing Waqf property has a public-duty element involved in it, stated the plea.

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