SC: Unless empowered by wakf deed, mutawalli cannot transfer his office

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 26th September 2019, in the matter of Syeda Nazira Khatoon (D) by LR. vs. Syed Zahiruddin Ahmed Baghdadi & Ors. pronounced that the mutawalli does not have a general power to assign or transfer his office to another person, unless he is given such powers by the wakf deed itself.

Question before the Hon’ble Supreme Court

Whether the mutawalli can transfer his office to another person by creating a trust deed, despite the existence of a wakf deed providing a line of succession to the office?

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Under Mohammedan law, when a wakf is created, all rights in the property pass from the wakif or dedicator to the God. The mutawalli is only a manager of such property and does not have any rights in it. (Para 9)

A mutawalli only acts in a managerial capacity for the wakf. As regards his power to transfer his office to another person, he cannot undertake such a transfer, unless such a power is expressly given to him by the wakif in the wakf deed. (Para 9)

The succession of the office of mutawalli should be in accordance with the intention of the wakif who created the wakf, and the same cannot be subverted through any other document contrary to the intention of the wakif. (Para 10)

Copy of judgment: Judgement_26-Sep-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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