JAMMU, Aug 14: In a petition seeking revocation of SRO 320 of 1985 whereby land in entire Poonch city was transferred to Auqaf Islamia, State High Court has issued notices to State through Commissioner Secretary Revenue, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Poonch and Administrator Auqaf Islamia Poonch.
In the petition filed by Satish Sasan, President of Sanatan Dharam Sabha Poonch, Advocate Sanjay Raina and a social worker Hardev Lal, all residents of Ward No.11 of Poonch through Advocate Ankur Sharma, it has been submitted that on August 31, 1985, SRO-320 was issued by Secretary to Government, Haj and Auqaf whereby land in entire Poonch city was transferred to Auqaf Islamia in blatant abuse of the powers conferred by Sub-Section 1 of Section 6 of J&K Wakafs Act, 1978.
It was further submitted that as a consequence to the passage of impugned SRO several entries were made in the revenue record in favour of Auqaf Islamia, which are illegal and unconstitutional.
“In blatant abuse of the powers conferred by Sub Section (1) of Section 6 of the J&K Wakafs Act, 1978, the respondents without preparing a report as required under Sub Section (3) of Section 4 of the Act and in an illegal and fraudulent manner published the list of Wakafs of eleven villages of tehsil Poonch”, the counsel for the petitioners submitted before the High Court.
He informed the High Court that general public including the petitioners and surprisingly the State instrumentalities as well came to know about the impugned SRO only in March 2017 when the Administrator Auqaf Islamia slapped an eviction notice on the District Information Officer under Section 45 of the J&K Wakafs Act, 2001.
It was alleged in the eviction notice that the District Information Centre has been unauthorisedly raised on 03 Kanals and 08 Marlas of Wakaf Land comprised in Khasra No.1389.
“Similar notices have also been issued to the Principal Government Degree College Poonch, Governmental Institutions and various private individuals. In certain cases, demand for payment of rent has also been raised”, the counsel for the petitioners submitted, adding “the petitioners are aggrieved especially by the fraudulent inclusion of lands and properties in the impugned SRO namely Government airfield ground, PWD road adjoining Eid Gah, ground of Government Degree College Poonch, Old Police Station, Deputy Commissioner’s office and residence etc”.
It was further submitted that the petitioners brought the issue to the notice of concerned authorities and even represented before the Chief Minister during a public darbar held on March 4, 2018 and even a follow up action was initiated but the respondents kept the same in abeyance for reasons best known to them.
“The State cannot involve itself in conferring illegal benefits on communal grounds as it is violative of the idea of secularism and also Right to Equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Moreover, the State cannot make an improper discrimination by conferring particular privileges upon a class of persons selected on religious grounds”, the counsel for the petitioners said.
After hearing Advocate Ankur Sharma, Justice Dheeraj Singh Thakur issued notices to State through Commissioner Secretary Revenue, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Poonch and Administrator Auqaf Islamia Poonch for filing response within four weeks.