Non-Muslims too can create "Wakf" property: SC
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Last Updated: Tuesday, November 09, 2010, 21:10
New Delhi: Even non-Muslims can create "Wakf" property but it would be invalid if done with a sinful objective to subvert the law, the Supreme Court has ruled upholding the land acquisition of a popular educational institution in the national capital.

A Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly in a judgement slammed Ramjas Foundation, an Educational institution, for concealing facts from the court in order to prevent DDA from acquiring its land at Chowkri Mubarikabad for development of NCR region.

The Bench said the instituiton had concealed the fact that its earlier batch of petitions in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court vis-a-vis its other land in Sadhora Khurd claiming to be a Wakf property was dismissed.

However, it said dedicating one's property as "Wakf" (dedication) to God can be done even by non-Muslims.

Quoting the book on Mohammadan Law (Fourth Edition) Volume I, Ammer Ali, the apex court said "any person or whatever creed may create Wakf, but the law requires that the object for which the dedication is made should be lawful according to the creed of the dedicator as well as the Islamic doctrines.

"Divine approbation being essential in the constitution of a Wakf, if the object for which a dedication is made is sinful, either according to the laws of Islam or to the creed of the dedicator it would not be valid.

"This shows that a non-Muslim can also create a Wakf for any purpose which is religious under the Mohammedan Law. However, the object of the Wakf must be lawful according to the religious creed of the maker as well," Justice Singhvi, writing the judgement, said.

By notification dated 13.11.1959 issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, Delhi government had sought to acquire 34,070 acres of land, including 872 bighas and 17 biswas land at Chowkri Mubarikabad and 730 bighas land situated at Sadhora Khurd of Ramajas Foundation which it claimed to have been dedicated to Wakf by its original owner Rai Sahib Kedar Nath, himself a retired sessions judge.

The Foundation had challenged the acquistion of the land on the ground that it was a Wakf property and exempted under clause (d) of notification dated 13.11.1959.

The government, however, opposed the plea saying the apex court had in 2002 dismissed the Foundation's plea that the property held by it was a Wakf property and is exempted from acquisition.

Dismissing the appeal, the apex court said "strangely, in the list of dates of the special leave petition out of which this appeal arises, there is not even a whisper about large number of cases filed by appellant No.1 (Ramajas) challenging the acquisition of land situated at village Sadhora Khurd, the grounds on which the challenge was founded and the orders passed by the High Court and this Court.

"The appellants also suppressed the fact that after dismissal of the first appeal by the Division Bench of the High Court, possession of the land was taken by the Land Acquisition Collector on 13.7.2001 and transferred to the Delhi Development Authority", the court said.

The Bench said the organisation suppressed the facts to ensure an interim stay order of dispossession.

"The principle that a person who does not come to the court with clean hands is not entitled to be heard on the merits of his grievance and, in any case, such a person is not entitled to any relief is applicable not only to the petitions filed under Articles 32, 226 and 136 of the Constitution but also to the cases instituted in others courts and judicial forums.

"The object underlying the principle is that every court is not only entitled but is duty-bound to protect itself from unscrupulous litigants who do not have any respect for truth and who try to pollute the stream of justice by resorting to falsehood or by making misstatement or by suppressing facts which have a bearing on adjudication of the issue(s) arising in the case," the Bench said.


First Published: Tuesday, November 09, 2010, 21:10

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