The Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government to furnish by tomorrow details related to removal of nominated members of the state Shia Waqf Board. The Lucknow bench of the high court issued the direction on a writ petition moved by Aalima Zaidi and other members removed from the board on June 16. The vacation bench comprising justice Rajan Roy and justice S N Agnihotri directed the state government to produce before it the original report pertaining to the removal of the members and fixed the hearing for tomorrow.
The state government had passed an order on June 16, removing the nominated members of the board on the ground that they had indulged in irregularities in connection with the Waqf properties. The members include Akhtar Hasan Rizvi, Sayed Wali Haider, Ashfa Zaidi, Maulana Azim Husain Zaidi, Aalima Zaidi and Nazmul Hasan Rizvi. They were nominated by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government.
Arguing on behalf of the petitioners, advocate Gaurav Mehrotra submitted that the process for removal of chairman and nominated members is provided in the Waqf Act, 1995, and while removing them, the state government did not comply with its provisions. Besides, the state government passed the removal order in a “whimsical manner” on the basis of an order issued by the chief secretary on March 20, Mehrotra contended.
It was also argued that the appointment of the nominated members was a term appointment and as such the members could not be removed before expiry of the term. Opposing the plea on behalf of the state government, the additional advocate general Ramesh Kumar Singh sought time to verify the facts.
On June 15, the Uttar Pradesh government, after ordering dissolution of Shia and Sunni waqf boards, had recommended a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities worth crores of rupees committed by the two bodies in the state. There have been serious allegations of corruption against the Shia and Sunni waqf boards related to their properties.
The role of the chairman of the Shia Waqf Board Wasim Rizvi as well as the minister for waqf in the previous Samajwadi Party government Azam Khan had come under scanner after the inquiry by the Waqf Council of India. Khan has, however, maintained that he was absolutely clean and the allegations against him were baseless.