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Why only 2 waqf tribunals in state: HC to Akhilesh Yadav govt

The court, on May 19, has also questioned why even these two tribunals have not yet been started.

Uttar Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh waqf tribunals, Akhilesh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav govt, Azam Khan, Allahabad High Court, Lucknow latest news The PIL challenged a notification passed by the Akhilesh Yadav government on March 3, 2014, through which it was decided that two tribunals — one in Lucknow and the other in Rampur — will be set up to deal with Waqf disputes.

The Allahabad High Court has asked the state government to explain why it has decided to provide tribunals for settlement of Waqf disputes only in Lucknow and Rampur — the constituency of state Minister Azam Khan.

The court, on May 19, has also questioned why even these two tribunals have not yet been started. Principal Secretary (Minority Welfare) has been asked to file a personal affidavit in the matter by May 28.

A division bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta passed the order while hearing a PIL filed by Mohammad Junaid Aijaz — an advocate and four others. The PIL challenged a notification passed by the state government on March 3, 2014, through which it was decided that two tribunals — one in Lucknow and the other in Rampur — will be set up to deal with Waqf disputes.

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The state was also asked to inform the court about the number of cases pending under the Waqf Act-1995. “Since the object of the Waqf Act-1995, and more particularly, Section 87 is to bring about an expert and speedy resolution of disputes pertaining to Waqfs, it is necessary that access to justice should be discouraged…” the court said.

The court also pulled up the government for delay in the two tribunals starting operations. “Though the notification was issued on 3 March, 2014, it is unfortunate that the state has still not been able to make the tribnals functional,” it said.

The counsel for the petitioner, Mir Sayed, said: “Waqf tribunals existed in districts and were manned by members of senior division judges, who hold civil courts. Now, rules have been changed to include three persons in a tribunal, but only two tribunals are to be made functional.”

“Our contention is that Waqf tribunal is a court of first instance or a civil court. A litigant has to be present in all hearings. Evidence is led, witnesses are examined and cross-examined. If a litigant is from, say, Jhansi, how will he arrange for his visits to Lucknow or Rampur? Also, what is the criteria for dividing the jurisdiction of the two tribunals?” he added. Sayed claimed that, according to estimates, over one lakh disputes are pending across the state.

First published on: 23-05-2015 at 03:58:32 am
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