Idgah Maidan row: BBMP rejects claims by Wakf Board for khata

Civic body to record ownership of the land as ‘Karnataka Revenue Department’

Published - August 06, 2022 10:33 pm IST - Bengaluru

Idgah Maidan at Chamarajpet in Bengaluru

Idgah Maidan at Chamarajpet in Bengaluru | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

The city’s civic body has dismissed the petition filed by Karnataka State Board of Auqaf for a Khata in its favour for Idgah Maidan, at Chamarajpet (Survey number 40, Guttahalli village, 2 acres 5 guntas), and declared Karnataka Revenue Department to be the default owner of the land.

City survey records had recorded the land as a playground of the civic body, a claim that has also been given up now, with the civic body deciding to record ‘Karnataka Revenue Department’ as owner in its records.  

S.M. Srinivas, Joint Commissioner (West), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), who presided over the proceedings, issued the order on Saturday evening. 

Old dispute

The decades-old dispute over Idgah Maidan was reignited in May-June, 2022, when a few Hindutva organisations sought permission of the civic body to hold events at the Maidan. This brought out two contrary sets of documents - Karnataka State Board of Auqaf presenting a 1965 gazette notifying the land as Wakf property and 1974 City Survey records and all civic records thereafter showing the land to be a civic playground. Chief Civic Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath who initially claimed the land to be a playground, later gave up the claim and said in fact the civic body was permanently injuncted from entering the land parcel and asked the Karnataka State Board of Auqaf to make a claim and get the khata in its name submitting relevant documents, following which the board made an application on June 21. 

It submitted the 1965 government gazette and made the claim. However, in his order, Mr. Srinivas said the gazette only listed “Idgah, Sunni, Chamarajpet” in serial number 137, but did not mention the survey number, extent of land, corporation number or the chakkubandi of the land parcel, and hence, was unclear.

Three notices

He served the board three notices to submit a set of seven additional documents, two of which went unanswered. On the third notice, the board submitted a set of earlier court orders on August 3 and sought more time to submit other documents. However, Mr. Srinivas refused to give more time to the petitioners and dismissed the petition for khata on Saturday. 

In his order, Mr. Srinivas argued that the Supreme Court order of 1964 only gave the Muslim community “congregational rights” and clearly said the burden of proving ownership and possession of the land on behalf of the Muslim community lay on the plaintiff. The order also argues that given that the community had only been given congregational rights over the land by the apex court, it does not satisfy the definition of “wakf” as per Wakf Act, 1954. 

Over to Revenue Department

Given that the Karnataka State Board of Auqaf failed to provide adequate documents, the Joint Commissioner has ruled the Karnataka Revenue Department to be the owner of the land. The order states that this would in no way hamper the rights of the petitioner [Karnataka State Board of Auqaf] to claim and establish ownership of the land with Karnataka Revenue Department.

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