The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to take back the land allotted to Mohammad Ali Jauhar University in Rampur over an alleged violation of norms, including the construction of a mosque on the land in question.
A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and C T Ravikumar issued notice on an appeal filed by Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Trust, headed by Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, challenging the Allahabad High Court’s order refusing to interfere with the Rampur Additional District Magistrate’s direction to take back the land.
When the University was established in 2005, the state government had allowed the Trust to acquire the land under Section 154(2) of the UP Zamindari Abolition & Land Reforms Act-1950, which allows the state to transfer land over and above the 12.5 acres ceiling set by the Act. This was, however, subject to conditions.
Subsequently, a March 2020 report by the Additional District Magistrate pointed to the violation of some of these conditions and referred to unauthorised constructions, including a mosque, and diversion of land for purposes other than educational.
Acting on the ADM report, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate in January 2021 passed orders taking back land in excess of the 12.5 acres. The Trust challenged this before the HC, which, however, refused to interfere with the SDM order.
The HC said that the “conditions of the permission granted by the state…had been violated…” and referred to the ADM’s report on the construction of the mosque on the premises.
The Trust argued that it was for the resident staff members, but the HC noted that this went against the conditions under which “permission for the transfer of land in excess to 12.5 acres was granted solely for establishing an educational institution”.
“The argument that the campus had residential premises for teaching as well as non-teaching staff, a ‘mosque’ was constructed for them cannot be accepted as it goes against the permission granted by the state…the establishment of a ‘mosque’ was against the permission granted on November 7, 2005, thus the Trust violated the conditions,” the court had said.