The Delhi government has superseded the Delhi Wakf Board and taken away all its power for a period of six months, prompting the caretaker body of all Muslim property in the city to move court against the decision.
A spokesperson for the AAP government defended the move, saying it was left with no option after five members of the Wakf board resigned recently. Some government sources said there were complaints of irregularities in the board too.
But board chairperson Rana Parween Siddiqui said the government did not have the power to take such a decision without issuing a show cause notice.
Protesting the October 8 notification that transferred the board’s powers to the revenue secretary for six months, Siddiqui also blamed the government for the resignations. “First they forced the members to resign. They asked me to resign too but I refused, following which this notification was issued. I have filed an appeal in the Delhi high court asking that it be quashed. The court will hear the case on October 30,” she said.
The Wakf board manages over 3,000 properties in Delhi, mostly graveyards and mosques. Many are lying unused or have been encroached upon. A board petition seeking eviction of encroachers from a large number of these properties is pending in the high court.
According to the notification issued by revenue secretary A Ambarasu, the Delhi government superseded the Wakf board “with immediate effect for a period of six months” under “powers conferred under section 99(I) of the Wakf Act, 1995”.
And, it added, “in accordance with section 99(2)(b) of the Wakf Act, 1995, all powers and duties of the board under the provisions of the Act will be exercised and performed by the secretary (revenue), government of NCT of Delhi”.
“We have given the administrative power to the revenue secretary till the board is reconstituted,” said the spokesperson.
The AAP regime’s move drew allegations from some quarters of an attempt by the government to fill the board with “its party members”.
Siddiqui’s election in January as chairperson too has not been notified by the government, they said. As a result, she has filed the petition in the high court on this matter as well.
“I was elected in January for five years. I was told the government wants to supersede the board but issuing a notification without consultation was uncalled for. They have to say on what grounds they have taken this decision,” Siddiqui said.