Attorney General Seeks Contempt Action Against Maharashtra Wakf Board For Removing Him As Counsel, CJI Admonishes Board
The Attorney General, KK Venugopal has written to the Supreme Court over the Maharashtra Wakf Board's action replacing him as Counsel in the case- Maharashtra State Board of Wakfs v. Shaikh Yusuf Bhai Chawla & Ors.
Terming the action of the board as an unwarranted attempt to interfere in the administration of Justice, AG expressed that it was an act of contempt of court.
"All this interference with counsel who are to represent parties being removed at the last minute is a serious uncalled for, and unwarranted attempt to interfere in the due administration of justice by removing counsel representing the parties. This clearly is an act of contempt of court.", the letter by KK Venugopal read.
The matter raises the question as to whether every charitable trust established by someone professing Islam is a waqf.
When the matter was taken today, the AG mentioned the episode to the Court and the CJI replied by saying, "This is not the way in which you behave with the Attorney General". The Court told the Counsel for the Board, "this is not proper".
The Court refused to advance the matter and said that it will be listed on the date previously fixed.
In the said letter, AG has stated that he and other Advocates have also been removed from the case.
The AG said that-
"Some shocking steps seem to have been taken by whosoever is behind the conduct of this case since-
i. firstly, my advocate on record has been changed
ii. Shri Javed Sheikh, the special counsel appointed by the Wakf Board who has been instructing me in the Wakf Board cases from 2011 and who, in my opinion, is an authority on Wakf Law, has been removed from his post;
iii. Shri Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who had informed the court on the last occasion that I would be leading him and has been instructing me in the matter, has been withdrawn from the case."
The AG stated that a letter was presented before him written by an advocate who described himself as Board's Advocate, wherein it was mentioned that the wakf board has made alternate arrangement to go ahead with the matter as an adjournment of 2 weeks was sought on the count of the health of the AG.
After the admonition by the Court, the Board's Counsel apologized.