Case title: Sayyed Moinuddin vs Pratap Singh,
Case no.: Civil Revision Application No.3 Of 2021
Decided on: 14.02.2024
Quorum: Hon’ble Justice S.G Mehare
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The current application is based on the order of the Maharashtra State Wakf Tribunal. The respondent had filed a suit before the Maharashtra State Wakf Tribunal in Aurangabad, seeking a declaration that the orders of the Chief Executive Officer of the Maharashtra State Wakf Board, including Survey Gut No.66 in the Book/register of Waqf, maintained by the Board and passed by the C.E.O., pursuant to the so-called entry in the concerned Gazette, are time-barred, hollow, inactive, in-executable, null and void, and not binding on the respondent’s rights. The order, which included the property Gut No. 66 in the Board’s Waqf Book/Register, is quashed and set aside. Furthermore, the declaration has been sought that the Board’s C.E.O.’s order directing the respondents to remove his possession from the suit land is invalid in law. A perpetual injunction prohibiting the applicants from interfering with their ownership and peaceful possession of the Suit land Survey No.66 was also requested.
Was the Suit not maintainable under Section 54 (4) of the Wakf Act 1995?
Section 54 of the Wakf Act 1995 addresses the removal of encroachment on waqf property. Section 54(4) of the Act 1995, prior to its amendment, has been discussed. It allows the person who is dissatisfied with the C.E.O.’s orders to file a lawsuit. Its proviso clause prohibits the person in possession from filing a suit under the said section if the Mutalwali allowed him to possess the land as a lessee, licensee, or through a mortgage.
They claimed that the order under Section 54 was issued following the 2013 amendment. As a result, the suit was not maintainable. The suit against such orders should have been filed within 60 days. As a result, the suit was time-barred. The issue of the plaintiff’s locus to file suit was not framed, despite being specifically requested in an application. While deciding on the application, it was discovered that the applicants could effectively argue their point. That was the subject of cross-examination for the witness. However, the learned Tribunal did not address that important issue. It is a good reason to refer the case back to the learned Tribunal. The respondents have admitted the Muntakhab. But it was a composite Muntakhab. If the Muntakhab is composite, the law presumes that the lands included in it are service Inam lands. The Suit land was a service Inam property. The learned Tribunal made no mention of any of the case law on which they relied.
The respondents emphasised that the suit land was the Inam land. His forefathers were tenants since 1925. They’ve been protected tenants since 1979, and he was granted occupancy certificates. Before publishing the Government Gazette, the Survey Commissioner did not give notice, did not go through the revenue record, and automatically included the Suit land in the Gazette as a Wakf property. The registration was approved on the basis of Muntakhab. Nobody was looking after or maintaining the Suit land. The order abolishing Inam and the tenancy rights was never challenged. As a result, the Tribunal has correctly decided not to consider or disturb it.
COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:
The court ruled that the Tribunal’s orders holding the respondent tenant in the suit land were never challenged. The Board’s jurisdiction under Section 54 of the 1995 Act prevented it from interfering with the respondebt’s rights under the aforementioned orders. It stated that the learned Tribunal had framed the issues based on controversial facts and addressed each and every point raised for consideration. It appears that the learned Tribunal has considered each party’s submissions, discussed the evidence, and recorded the correct findings. The challenged orders are free of illegality and infirmity. As a result, there is no reason to interfere. Applications have been dismissed.
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Written by – Surya Venkata Sujith