The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a challenge filed by the Executive Committee of Maulana Mohamad Ali Jauhar Trust against the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to cancel the Trust's lease over the land of Jauhar University in Rampur.

In that context, the Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Kshitij Shailendra observed that, "It is clear that policy aspects, procedural aspects and financial aspects were deliberately given a complete go-by. The very grant of lease was an outcome of abuse and misuse of power by the Cabinet Minister. It is well established that what was not legally and directly possible and permissible, could also not be done indirectly, but the Hon’ble Minister acting without scruples and under influence of the public office he held, succeeded in circumventing the law. The submission advanced on behalf of the petitioner as regards ‘collective or individual responsibility’ and ‘synergy of interest’ is completely specious and untenable. The petitioner cannot avoid the consequences of the camouflaged actions of its Managing Trustee behind the veil of ‘collective responsibility’. The bias was obvious and manifest and ‘conflict of interest’, deep rooted and pervasive."

Senior Counsel Mohammad Khalid, along with others, appeared for the petitioner.

In 2004, the state government acquired 13140 square meters of land in Rampur to establish the Maulana Mohd. Ali Jauhar Training and Research Institute. In 2013-14, a decision was made to lease the institute to Mohammad Ali Jauhar Trust, headed by a former Cabinet Minister, for 33 years with an option for renewal. Despite objections, the government affiliated the institute with the trust. Later, Rampur Public School was also established on the land.

In 2017, a new government formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe complaints against the trust. The SIT alleged misuse of state land and buildings, claiming financial losses to the state exchequer. It accused the trust of diverting resources for personal gain, including establishing a CBSE-recognized school without proper approval. The lease terms, set at a nominal rate, were also questioned.

In January 2023, the state government terminated the lease and related agreements. The trust challenged this decision in court, arguing lack of due process. The government contended that the former Cabinet Minister used his influence to benefit his trust, creating a conflict of interest.

The High Court observed that, "the creation/ grant of lease of the Research Institute in favour the petitioner trust was dehors the provisions of law and a result of gross abuse of the public office held by the Hon’ble Minister. There was a direct conflict of interest and the entire proceedings, culminating in the grant of lease in favour of the petitioner trust were void ab initio."

It was further observed that in order to save public property from being frittered away in complete disregard of probity and good faith, procedural irregularities in the impugned decision of the state government should be overlooked in the exercise of Article 226 of the Constitution.

Accordingly, the writ petition was dismissed.


Petitioner: Senior Counsel Mohammad Khalid, Counsels Imran Ullah, Vineet Vikram

Cause Title: Executive Committee Maulana Mohamad Ali Jauhar Trust vs State of UP & Ors.

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