Akhilesh Yadav too ordered Waqf board dissolution; Supreme Court stayed it
By recommending the dissolution of Shia and Sunni Waqf Boards, the Yogi Adityanath government seems to be following in the footsteps of the Samajwadi Party government.
In 2012, the then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had dissolved the Shia Waqf Board on similar corruption charges by invoking provisions of sections 99 of the Waqf Act.
The order was challenged by the Board and the Supreme Court stayed the decision on December 2, 2014.
History only seems to be repeating itself for Syed Wasim Rizvi, who had challenged the SP government’s move as chairman of the Shia Waqf Board, and continues to be at its helm.
“I was re-elected as the chairman in 2015 for a five-year term. The government cannot dissolve the board on its whims and fancies; a basic requirement for doing so is to issue a show cause notice. I have not received any notice so far,” said Rizvi when contacted by HT.
The government’s move could escalate its ongoing turf war with the Samajwadi Party over the control of Waqf boards in UP. This is because both Sunni Waqf Board chairman Zufar Ahmed Farooqui and Shia Waqf Board chief Wasim Rizvi are known for their proximity to senior SP leaders. Rizvi is regarded as a protégé of senior SP leader Azam Khan, who was the minority welfare minister then.
Rizvi was last elected chairman of the Shia Board for the fourth consecutive term in May 2015.
The present regime in UP seems to be acting on the pressure mounted by the Central Waqf Council under the union minority welfare ministry headed by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
In its inquiry report on the functioning of both the boards, the council has levelled serious charges of fraud and corruption against their office-bearers including illegal sale of prime Waqf land/properties. The report has also indicted Khan, blamed for acquiring Waqf land for his Jauhar University in Rampur.
Denying the charges, Khan said, he had no control over the boards, which functioned as an independent entity.
He, however, clarified that he was not afraid of any inquiry.
Prominent Shia cleric in Lucknow Maulana Kalbe Jawad and Faisal Lala, a Congress leader from Rampur, have also opened front against Khan demanding an inquiry into the Waqf land deals under the SP government.
The 46-page council report was prepared by Waqf council member Syed Ejaz Abbas during his four-day stay in UP in May during which he visited both Waqf boards offices. Council secretary, BM Jamal has already shot off a letter to principal secretary, minority welfare UP, SP Singh asking him to dissolve the boards.
“The chairmen of the boards have exceeded their briefs and misused their authorities by facilitating illegal transfer and sale of Waqf properties resulting in loss,” jamal wrote in the letter.
Several criminal cases have been registered in different police stations in the state in which the chairman of the Shia Waqf board has been named as accused.
“As such the state government exercising its power under section 99 of the Waqf Act 1995, should supersede the boards, order a CBI inquiry and appoint an administrator till the reconstitution of new boards,” says the two-page letter a copy of which has also been sent to UP chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar.
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