NEW DELHI: The Central government on Thursday sought four-week time from the Delhi high court to file its response on the public interest litigation (PIL), challenging the constitutional validity of The Waqf Act, 1995.
The next hearing is scheduled to take place on November 4.
The petition, filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, argues that the Act is against the secular spirit of the Constitution.
On April 20, a division bench of then Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Central government, asking it to file its response.
Nothing that Upadhyay had not impleaded the Waqf Board even though he had challenged the Waqf Act, the court had asked him to make Waqf Board a party to the case and had issued notice to them as well.
In his petition, the BJP leader argued that if the Waqf Act was introduced to protect fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 29-30, then it should cover all minorities like Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, and not only Muslims.
“The board which has Muslim MLA, Muslim MP, Muslim IAS officer, Muslim planner, Muslim advocate, Muslim scholar & Mutawalli; is paid from public exchequer, though Centre doesn’t collect even one rupee from any mosque, mazar & dargah,” the petition said.
It further said that the practice violates Article 27 (freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion) of the Constitution because, he claimed, states collect around Rs 1 lakh crore from four lakh temples. “But there are no similar provisions for Hindus and Jains,” it added.