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In reply to the PIL filed challenging the provisions of Waqf Act, 1995, Centre has informed the high court that nearly 120 pleas have been filed regarding this issue before different courts.
The Union of India in a reply to the PIL filed by advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay challenging the provisions of the Waqf Act, 1995 (the Act) has said that nearly 120 petitions are pending before various courts across the country challenging the provisions of the Act.
The division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was hearing a PIL filed challenging the validity of provisions of the Waqf Act, 1995 pertaining to the management of waqf properties. The PIL stated that there are no similar laws for followers of other religions and that it is against the principle of secularism, unity and integrity of the nation.
“The Respondents / Applicants respectfully submit that apart from the instant case, nearly 120 writ petitions challenging one or more provisions of the Waqf Act 1995, are pending before various Courts. For instance, a similar PIL viz Devendra Nath Tripathi Vs UOI & Others, W.P. (C) No. 7422 of 2022 is pending adjudication before this Hon'ble Court and the Hon'ble Court has clubbed these two The Respondents / Applicants respectfully submit that apart from the instant case, nearly 120 writ petitions challenging one or more provisions of the Waqf Act 1995, are pending before various Courts,” the government has said.
The Union has further submitted that a transfer petition has been filed before the Supreme Court by Upadhyay under Article 139 (A) of the Constitution of India which is pending adjudication. The high court, therefore, granted time to Kirtiman Singh, the standing counsel of the Central Government, to take instructions on the transfer and consolidation of all the cases and listed the next hearing on July 26.
Considering the fact that Delhi Waqf Board is an important party, the court has also granted time of two weeks to Delhi Waqf Board for filing an impleadment application in the matter. "All Waqf Boards are necessary party and all of them will have to be heard," the court observed.
In the present PIL, Upadhyay has challenged the validity of provisions of the Waqf Act 1995, alleging that they were made under the garb of managing waqf properties but there are no similar laws for followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Judaism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism & Christianity.
“If the Act is enacted to secure fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 25-26, then it must be in consonance with Articles 14-15. The Act has no Statement of Objects and Reasons. Yet, if it is enacted under Entry-10 and Entry-28 of the List-3 of Schedule-7, then it must be gender-neutral religion-neutral. likewise, If the impugned Act has been made to protect the rights guaranteed under Articles 29-30 then it has to cover all the minorities i.e., followers of Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and not only Islam,” the PIL stated.
Notice was issued in the PIL in April last year.
Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs. Union of India
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