Socio-religious organisation Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind on Friday opposed a petition before the Delhi High Court challenging certain provisions of the Waqf Act that grant special status to Waqf properties.
A Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad asked lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who has filed the petition, to give his response to the application moved by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind.
The High Court also issued a notice to the Central Waqf Council while posting the petition for further hearing on November 4.
In his petition, Mr. Upadhyay argued that the Waqf Act is against the idea of secularism as there were no such provisions for the followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Judaism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.
He said Parliament has conferred special status to Waqf Boards and created Waqf Tribunal at the cost of the State exchequer.
On the other hand, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, which has sought to be made a party in the case, submitted that the impact of the prayers made by Mr Upadhyay in his petition could “cause upheaval in the established system of Waqf throughout the country”.
Mr. Upadhyay in his petition added that the Waqf Board was given the power to take decisions on the ownership of properties, while no safeguards were given to the persons whose properties the Waqf Board treated as its own.
He said there are around 6.6 lakh registered Waqf properties in India that account for around eight lakh acres of land throughout the country. This makes the Waqf Board the third largest landholder after the Railways and Ministry of Defense, Mr. Upadhay said in his petition.