The Delhi High Court on Wednesday requested the Centre’s response to BJP leader Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay’s petition challenging the constitutional validity of Waqf provisions on the grounds that no similar law has been enacted for other religions.
The Divisional Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Center as well as Delhi Waqf Council and requested them to file counter affidavits within four weeks. He scheduled the case for the next hearing on July 28.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, representing the Centre, argued that the petition “raises substantive issues”.
Upadhyay in court argued that the law is totally “against secularism, unity and integrity of the nation” and that the board, which has a Muslim deputy, a Muslim deputy, a Muslim officer of the IAS, a Muslim planner, a Muslim lawyer, a Muslim scholar and Mutawali are paid from the public treasury but the Center does not collect money from Muslim places of worship.
“On the other hand, states collect about one lakh crore from four lakh temples, but there are no similar provisions for Hindus and Jains. Therefore, it violates Article 27,” he said. he argued, adding that the Center arbitrarily enacted the law based on religion.
Upadhyay’s petition argues that the provisions of the law grant special status to Waqf properties and grant “absolute powers” to the Waqf Board to register any property as Waqf property. “There is no guarantee for Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs and other communities to save their properties from inclusion in the list of Waqf (properties) issued by Waqf councils,” a- he asserted, while asserting that other religions are discriminated against.
In prayer, Upadhyay asked for a declaration that the Center can only enact uniform law for trusts and trustees, charities and charitable institutions, and religious endowments and institutions. He also prayed for a directive that the civil court should decide religious property disputes and not the Waqf court.