SC: S.56 of Wakf Act has no application to action/inaction of board u/ Ch. II

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 30thAugust 2019, in the matter of Syed Zainul Abedeen v. The Rajasthan Board Of Muslim Wakf pronounced that Section 56 of the Wakf Act, 1954 deals with the judicial proceedings under Chapter VII and it has no application to any action/inaction of the Board which has been specified under Chapter II.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

A conjoint reading of Section 4, 5, 6 and 56 of the Wakf Act, 1954 clearly  envisages that the survey is to be made of wakfs by the State Government through its authorised Officer, i.e., Survey Commissioner under sub­section (4) of Section 4 of the Act who could make an inquiry with the same powers as are vested in a civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and may submit its report under sub­section (3) of Section 4 of Act, 1954 to the State Government. On receipt of the report under sub­section (3) of Section 4, the State Government will forward a copy of the same to the Board who may examine the report and publish it in the Official Gazette in the list of wakfs under sub­section (2) of Section 5 of the Act, 1954 and any disputes regarding wakfs, to be more specific, regarding the properties which are specified as wakf properties in the list of wakfs published in the Official Gazette under sub­section (2) of Section 5 by any person aggrieved may be challenged by way of a suit in a Court of competent jurisdiction under Section 6 of the Act and the Parliament, in its wisdom, consider it appropriate to attach finality to the list of wakfs published in the Gazette added a proviso to Section 6 which has been couched in the negative words that no suit shall be entertained after the expiry of one year from the date of publication of the list of wakfs under sub­ section (2) of Section 5 of Act, 1954. (Para 17)

Once the property after the survey has been registered in the list of wakfs, on the basis of findings recorded by the Survey Commissioner in its report, the dispute regarding the nature of wakfs registered is open to be examined only within the four corners of Section 6 of Act, 1954. (This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 20)

 Chapter II of the Wakf Act, 1954 deals with the survey of wakf and its resolution after the list of wakfs has been published in the Official Gazette under sub­ section (2) of Section 5 of the Act 1954 in accordance with Section 6 of the Act, 1954 to be instituted within the period of limitation prescribed therein, to be examined by the civil Court. (Para 21)

Section 56 of the Wakf Act, 1954 deals with the judicial proceedings under Chapter VII and it has no application to any action/inaction of the Board which has been specified under Chapter II. (This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 21)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_30-Aug-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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