Petition filed in HC to preserve waqf properties in Central Vista

New Delhi: The Delhi Waqf Board on Tuesday urged the Delhi High Court to issue direction to the Centre to preserve the original shape, form and use of all the Waqf properties situated in or around the Central Vista Redevelopment Project.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Centre, in the matter, said that he will take instructions on the matter.

A single-judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva has listed the matter for further hearing on September 29.

Senior Advocate Sanjoy Ghose, representing Delhi Waqf Board, however, urged the Delhi High Court that the Centre may just give an assurance to preserve the structure till the next date.

The court stated that the project is continuing in a particular fashion and there are timelines and a plan for construction and the authority would have taken this into account as it’s an old structure.

The petition filed by Delhi Waqf Board through lawyer Wajeeh Shafiq urged the Court to issue a direction to the respondent to preserve the original shape, form and use of all the Waqf properties situated in or around the Central Vista Redevelopment Project or another project allied to it, along with the easements attached to those properties,

The petitioner, Delhi Waqf Board, which is a Statutory Body incorporated under Section 13 of the Waqf Act, 1995 and invested under Section 32 of the said Act with the powers and duties to manage and control the Waqf Properties situated in NCT of Delhi, invoked the writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner said that Waqf properties, which are old and important places of worship, are likely to be impacted by the ongoing Central Vista Redevelopment Project.

The petitioner stated that it is known that the Central Vista Redevelopment Project was cleared by a Supreme Court order in which it had held that the project was of national importance.

As a matter of abundant caution, the petitioner clarified that it is not in any manner seeking any order or direction against the respondent in respect of continuation of the Central Vista Project and does not in any manner seek to delay or obstruct the same.

“The petition is instituted with a limited objective to ensure that the religious/Waqf properties, which are also of historical importance, the subject matter of the present petition are preserved and protected in the redevelopment process,” stated the plea.

The petition said, “It may not be out of place to state that the petitioner is constrained to file the present petition only on account of the fact that the several representations made by it seeking clarification and assurances from the respondent have gone unheard and without any response.”