Reached Daily Limit?

Explore a new way of legal research!

Click Here
Indian Case Summary

Begum Asma Jafar Imam And Anr. vs The State Of Bihar And Ors. on 1 July, 1974 – Case Summary

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In the case of Begum Asma Jafar Imam And Anr. vs The State Of Bihar And Ors. on 1 July, 1974, the petitioners challenged the authority of the Bihar State Shia Wakf Board, established under Section 9 of the Wakf Act, 1954 (Act No. 29 of 1954) — hereinafter referred to as the “1954 Act” — to interfere with the administration, management and affairs of Hasan Imam Wakf Estate. The petitioners argued that the provisions of the 1954 Act are not applicable to the said estate.

The case revolves around a deed of Wakf-alal-aulad executed by Mr. Hasan Imam in 1931, in respect of his properties. The deed indicated the sequence of family members who were to be the Mutawallis (caretakers) of the estate. In the event of his line becoming extinct, the ultimate benefit was to go to the poor Muslims residing at Neora for their education and for maintenance of a mosque.

After the death of Mr. Hasan Imam in 1933, a dispute arose in respect of the Imam Wakf Estate between Mrs. Nattie Imam, on the one hand, and the other heirs of Mr. Hasan Imam, on the other. The matter was referred to arbitration, and the estate was divided between Mrs. Nattie Imam and Mr. Mehdi Imam, the son of Mr. Hasan Imam.

In 1948, the Bihar Subai Shia Majlis-e-Awqaf was founded under Section 5 of the Bihar Wakfs Act. 1947 (Bihar Act VIII of 1948) — hereinafter referred to as the “1947 Bihar Act”. In the 1947 Bihar Act, ‘Wakf had been defined to include Wakf-alal-aulad, and the wakf of Mr. Hasan Imam was registered as a wakf-alal-aulad in the registers of the Majlis.

The petitioner, Asma Jafar Imam, filed two applications in 1965 under Sections 31 and 46 of the 1947 Bihar Act for setting aside the scheme framed by the Majlis on the 5th July, 1964, and for certain other reliefs, including rendition of account. The case was eventually settled by a compromise agreement, under which Mrs. Asma Jafar Imam and Mr. Mehdi Imam became Mutawallis of different blocks of the Imam Wakf Estate.

The operation of the 1964 Act was extended to Bihar in 1971, and as a result, the 1947 Bihar Act stood repealed with effect from the 7th April, 1973. On the 10th April. 1973, the Bihar State Shia Wakf Board (respondent No, 2) was established. The Board issued a notice to the petitioner in 1973, asking her to show cause as to why the reliefs sought in a petition filed by Master Mirza Amirullah Beg be not granted.

The petitioner argued that the Imam Wakf Estate was a Wakf-alal-aulad estate and the Board had no jurisdiction to interfere with its affairs. Despite this, the Board published a notice in two English dailies of Patna, stating that any agreement of sale or lease, or any sale or lease in respect of the said Hasan Imam Wakf Estate, without obtaining prior sanction of the Board, would be illegal, void and inoperative.

The petitioner contended that the communications from the Board amounted to unwarranted interference with the affairs and administration of the Imam Wakf Estate without any authority in law, because the provisions of the 1954 Act are not applicable to the said estate, and the respondent Board is liable to be restrained by a writ of mandamus from interfering with the management and administration of the said estate under its purported exercise of the powers conferred by the 1954 Act.

The respondent Board, in its counter-affidavit, argued that it has power and jurisdiction to supervise the affairs of the Imam Wakf Estate in exercise of the power conferred on it under the 1954 Act. The Board stated that it had taken the aforesaid actions in the interests of the Imam Wakf Estate.

The court observed that the controversy centres round the question as to whether the 1954 Act is applicable to a wakf-alal-aulad, and if at all, to what extent. The court noted that while defining ‘wakf’, the Act had said that it will also include a wakf-alal-aulad “to the extent to which the property is dedicated for any purpose recognised by the Muslim Law as pious, religious or charitable”. The court concluded that the provisions of the 1954 Act would apply to properties which have been dedicated “for any purpose recognised by the Muslim Law as pious, religious or charitable”.