HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Monday denounced the Wakf Board and charged that its Chief Executive Officer Md. Kasim was involved in rampant encroachments of Wakf properties by conniving with land grabbers. The court asked the government to replace the officer with an individual who could save the properties dedicated to Allah.
While dealing with three PILs related to encroachments of Wakf properties and the imperious attitude of some muttavallis (caretakers), a division bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Bollam Vijaysen Reddy came down heavily against the CEO for not protecting huge swathes of Wakf properties from the clutches of land sharks.
The bench said that the CEO had failed in protecting the properties, ostensibly on the ground that he was unaware of the basic Criminal Procedure Code, under which he could have approached a jurisdictional magistrate and filed a private complaint against the encroachers.
Md. Kasim, who appeared before the High Court on being summoned, failed to explain why he could not take criminal action against the encroachers. He said that the station house officers of the police stations concerned refused to file FIRs stating that these were civil matters. The court termed the explanation as being vague.
"This court is of the opinion that the Telangana state government will take serious action against the CEO because, prima-facie, this court feels that the CEO has failed to perform his legitimate duty in protecting Wakf properties and the state is bound to protect Wakf properties,” observed the Chief Justice.
He added that the government has no dearth of officers, who can protect Wakf properties, which are the properties of the Almighty. Md. Kasim had issued notices to the encroachers and preferred to stay silent for years together. The bench asked the Chief Secretary to transfer the officer.
Out of 85 encroachment cases of Wakf properties, only five FIRs have been registered. It indicates that the CEO was hand in glove with the land-grabbers, the bench observed. It directed the principal secretary, minorities department, to initiate an inquiry into the issue and file a report within two weeks. In case the principal secretary does not file a report, he should appear before the court....