True Court CopyTM EnglishUC


Civil Appeal No. 5297 of 2004

Decided On: 23.11.2010

Appellants: Board of Wakf, West Bengal Vs. Respondent: Anis Fatma Begum and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra


Markandey Katju, J.

1. This appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment of the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court dated 02.5.2003 in A.P.O.T. No. 775 of 2002.

2. Heard learned Counsel for the parties and perused the record.

3. The facts of this case have been stated in the impugned judgment and hence we are not repeating the same here, except where necessary.

4. The dispute pertains to the Wakf estate of Shahzadi Begum which was created by a Registered Deed of Wakf dated 22.09.1936 by one late Shahzadi Begum. By the said Wakf Deed the Wakf was created with the object of dedicating the property being Premises No. 33, Shakespeare Sarani, (formerly Theatre Road), Calcutta-700 017, partly for the benefit of the Wakifa, her family and descendants and partly for pious and religious purposes. In order to give effect to the object of the Wakf, the property had been demarcated and/or divided into two portions having 75% share for Wakf-al-al-aulad and 25% share for pious and religious purposes. The Wakf had been enrolled under the appropriate laws then prevailing, and registered as a Wakf Estate. The aforesaid property has been partitioned by metes and bounds by keeping 75% thereof for the benefit of the descendants of the family of the Wakifa in terms of the Wakf Deed and the remaining 25% for a religious and charitable purposes.

5. Suit No. 488 of 1999 was filed in Original Summons jurisdiction for answers to be given for the following two questions:

• Whether the demarcation of the Wakf property being Premises No. 33, Shakespeare Sarani, Calcutta - 700 017, made as above in dividing the said property in two distinctive parts, one for Wakf-al-al-aulad and the remaining portion for pious and religious purposes, is correct and has been made in consonance with the provisions of the Wakf Deed ?

• Whether the Wakf Act, 1995 is applicable for the portion of the said property divided and earmarked for Wakf-al-al-aulad ?

6. By the order dated 30.02.2000 the Learned Single Judge answered the first question in the negative and the second question in the affirmative.

7. However, in appeal, the Division Bench by the impugned judgment has answered both the questions in the negative. Hence, this appeal.

8. It was submitted by Dr. Rajeev Dhawan, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the appellant, that only the Wakf Tribunal has jurisdiction in the matter under the Wakf Act, 1995 and hence the Suit filed in the High Court was without jurisdiction. We agree.

9. The dispute in the present case relates to a Wakf.

10. In our opinion, all matters pertaining to Wakfs should be filed in the first instance before the Wakf Tribunal constituted under Section 83 of the Wakf Act, 1995 and should not be entertained by the Civil Court or by the High Court straightaway under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

11. It may be mentioned that the Wakf Act, 1995 is a recent parliamentary statute which has constituted a special Tribunal for deciding disputes relating to Wakfs. The obvious purpose of constituting such a Tribunal was that a lot of cases relating to Wakfs were being filed in the courts in India and they were occupying a lot of time of all the C........