The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wakf tribunal notice to states

New Delhi, Dec. 13: The Supreme Court today issued notices to all states and Union Territories, directing them to reply whether they had set up wakf board tribunals as per the requirement of the Wakf Act.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice G.B. Pattanaik, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice S.B. Sinha said that “constitution of wakf tribunal is an obligation on the part of the state government under Section 83 of the Wakf Act, 1995”.

The direction came on a petition by the All-India Imam Organisation asking the apex court to intervene in the implementation of pay scales as per an earlier order of the court.

The apex court listed the imams’ case for further hearing in the first week of January.

The court asked individual imams to appeal to wakf boards for redress of grievances. The boards were asked to dispose of the imams’ petitions within four weeks of filing.

The court noted that wakf boards in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Pondicherry and Dadra & Nagar Haveli had already implemented the new pay scales. But several states had ignored the earlier direction and not set up a tribunal to hear imams’ cases.

The counsel for the All-India Imam Organisation, Mukesh K. Giri, contended that almost all states and Union Territories, except Goa, had constituted wakf tribunals.

Giri argued that the balance sheets and audit reports “clearly indicate” that the wakf boards “have sufficient means and resources to pay the imams”. “When peons were shown as drawing a salary between Rs 2,550 and Rs 3,200, why were imams paid only around Rs 1,200'” he asked.

Maulana Jamel Almad Ilyasi, president of the organisation, said “every imam in representative capacity has filed his complaint within the stipulated time, but state wakf boards did not decide the complaint till date”.

He said the imams, “working in 3 lakh mosques” were not being paid the pay scales conferring benefit of the judgment and order of the apex court of May 13, 1993 and the scheme framed then.

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