New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought the Centre`s response on a plea seeking quashing of an order relinquishing government agencies` rights over 123 plots and properties at prime locations and transferring them to the Delhi Wakf Board.
The high court took note of the petition that accuses the central government of according "undue favour" to the minority community, and sought responses from the Union Home Secretary, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Delhi Wakf Board (DWB).
A bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul has posted the matter to May 15 for further hearing.
The government notification said its land-owning agencies -- Land and Development Office and the DDA -- will relinquish their rights over the properties, spread across the national capital, and those will now go to the Wakf Board.
The petition, filed by lawyer Anil Grover on behalf of the Indraprastha Vishva Hindu Parishad, seeks quashing of the government notification issued on March 5 by which the Centre has withdrawn from the acquisition of the 123 properties.
"The properties which have been acquired and vested in the government after the possession of the same has been taken, it cannot be de-notified/released from acquisition in exercise of power under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act," the petition said.
It also alleged that "the notification has been issued only with a view to confer illegal and undue benefits upon the Respondent No. 4 (Delhi Wakf Board) and particular religious community for illegitimate political gains keeping in view the general elections".
The petitioner also claimed that the notification had been issued illegally with "oblique motives" to appease the minorities, especially the "Muslim community for showing them that the government was gifting them away 123 prime properties in Delhi".
At present, 61 of these 123 properties are owned by the Land and Development Office attached to the Union Urban Development Ministry, while the rest are with DDA.