SC adjourns plea seeking directions to complete survey of wakf estates properties

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today adjourned a writ petition seeking direction to the State Wakf Board as well as State Governments to immediately complete the survey contemplated under¬†section 4(1A) of the Wakf Act, 1995¬†(“Act”) of properties in several Wakf Estates situated in various states.

Listed before the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli the plea had also sought for following section 4(1A) of the Act in letter and spirit for the protection and preservation of all properties belonging to Wakfs.

The writ petition stated that the value of properties in various Waqf Board of West Bengal calculated that the value of Shia Wakf Properties [38 in number] was approximately Rs 54,24, 46, 80,000 and the value of Sunni Wakf Properties was approximately Rs 1,31,26, 45, 84,000. The Wakf Board of Tamil Nadu had valued Shia Wakf Properties to be Rs 688 crores and Sunni Wakf properties to be Rs 9311 crores.

Filed through Advocates Rauf Rahim and Ali Asghar Rahim, the writ averred that all Wakf Boards could realise Waqf Contribution @7% by way of annual contribution and could also receive money in the form of donations/grants. Irrespective of receiving such huge amounts and being under a statutory duty, the Officials did not act in furtherance of the Act for causing survey.

“Wakf Boards were required to coordinate with the Survey Commissioners from the date of commencement of Act, i.e, November 1, 2013 and such non-compliance is deliberate for apparent oblique motive,” the writ petition stated.

It was also argued in the plea that there being no proper list, disputes in relation to a property being waqf or not have arisen and were pending due to lack of Survey Report. The contention that for want of survey reports, there would be a multiplicity of proceedings resulting in loss to various Waqf Estates and defeating the purpose of the Act and intentions of thousands of Waqfs was also put forth in the plea.

There is a need to maintain the accounts of respective Waqf Board in such form and manner as provided by Regulation under Section 79 of the Act and such books of accounts are also required to be audited by an auditor appointed by the State Government, such State Government to pass orders on the Auditor’s report under section 80 and 81 of the Act,” plea also stated.

The Top Court on October 28, 2020, had directed all the State Governments to file their counter-affidavits within a period of four weeks which had to indicate the nature of the surveys, if any, that have been conducted by the State Government in pursuance of the provisions of Section 4(1-A) of the Waqf Act, as amended by Act 27 of 2013.

Case Title: Rauf Rahim & Anr v. Union of India & Ors.