A bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice SS Shamshery handed the order on petitions difficult the validity of orders dated July 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, handed by Principal Secretary, Division of Minority Welfare and Waqf.
Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the state authorities had prolonged the time period of the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board after it expired on April 1, 2020, saying it wasn’t attainable to conduct elections in the course of the lockdown.
Whereas quashing the order, the court docket appointed Principal Secretary, Division of Minority Welfare and Waqf as an administrator of the Board to handle the everyday affairs.
Nevertheless, the administrator won’t be eligible to take any coverage determination regarding the Board and can guarantee holding of the elections and to offer cost to an elected Board on or earlier than February 28, 2021, the court docket stated.
The petitions had been filed by Wasim Uddinand Allamah Zameer Naqvi and one different particular person.
The counsel for the petitioners argued that Waqf Act, 1995, doesn’t empower the state authorities to increase the time period of the elected board, and the court docket agreed that there isn’t a dispute on this level.
“In absence of any such authority, the extension of the time period of the Board vide workplace memorandum impugned is unhealthy. It’s asserted that the State prolonged the time period of the Board past its authority for sure extraneous concerns,” the counsel submitted.
The court docket, after listening to the events, noticed that the elections weren’t attainable until Might finish as a result of strict lockdown however the State may have performed the election in September.
“It’s not in dispute that underneath the Act of 1995, no energy is obtainable to the state authorities to increase the time period of an elected Waqf Board.
“The time period of an elected Waqf Board is of 5 years and as per provisions of the Act of 1995 an election is required to be performed earlier than expiry of the time period of 5 years enabling new Board to occupy the workplace.”
“Nobody can deny that as much as thirty first Might 2020 complete nation was going through stringent checks pertaining to lockdown.
“In that interval, no election may have taken place and even previous to 1st April 2020…. In such circumstances, the need demanded extension of the time period of U.P. Sunni Central Waqf Board,” noticed the bench.
The court docket stated the state authorities may have performed the elections “within the months of August and September 2020”.
The court docket, nonetheless, made it clear that the executive choices taken by the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board throughout its prolonged time period shall not be invalidated on the account of setting apart of the extension order.
The Board was appointed on April 1, 2015, for a interval of 5 years.