Suit For Eviction Maintainable Before Wakf Tribunal If Tenant Claims That Property Is Not Wakf Property: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court in the case of Telangana State Wakf Board & Anr. v. Mohamed Muzafar has held that a suit for eviction is maintainable before the Wakf Tribunal if the tenant has a case that the property in issue is not Wakf's.
The appellant Wakf Board and the Mutawalli filed a suit against the respondent seeking eviction from the tenanted premises belonging to the Wakf institution, as also from the encroached property. The respondent contended that the suit property was not a Wakf property and that it stood in the name of his father.
The Wakf Tribunal on considering the relevant facts and evidence placed before it pronounced the judgment in favor of the appellants and held that both the properties in dispute belonged to the Wakf institution and ordered the respondent to vacate the premises.
The aggrieved respondent filed a Revision Petition in the High Court at Hyderabad where the Court allowed the petition of the respondent and set aside the decision of the Wakf Tribunal. The Hyderabad High Court relied on the judgment in the matter of Ramesh Gobindram vs. Sugra Humayun Mirza Wakf (2010) 8 SCC 726 and held that the suit was not maintainable before the Wakf tribunal and permitted both the appellant and respondent to avail their remedy as per law.
The Apex Court observed that when a Revision Petition is filed, the impugned order can be interfered with only "in the event of there being perversity on the face of the order and if the conclusion reached cannot be acceptable to any reasonable person". Apex Court held that the High Court cannot re-appreciate evidence unlike when an appeal is filed. Hence, the High Court could not have lightly interfered with the fact-finding already recorded by the tribunal.
Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice A.S. Bopanna opined that where the tenant has contended that the property is not a Wakf's property, the eviction suit is maintainable before the Wakf Tribunal, thus setting aside the decision of the High Court and restoring the judgment passed by the Wakf tribunal."We notice that the evidence available on record has been analysed in its correct perspective and an appropriate conclusion has been reached by the Wakf tribunal."
The Court concluded by giving the respondent three months time to vacate the disputed properties including for the payment of rent, arrears and allowed the appeal.