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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

the Rajasthan Wakf Act, 1995 (hereinafter to be referred as the ‘Act’), having regard to the provisions of Section 85 of the Act.= whether Civil Court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed by the respondent herein or the subject matter of the suit lies within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tribunal constituted under the Rajasthan Wakf Act, 1995 (hereinafter to be referred as the ‘Act’), having regard to the provisions of Section 85 of the Act.= The suit is for cancellation of sale deed, rent and for possession as well as rendition of accounts and for removal of trustees. However, pleading in the suit are not filed before us and, therefore, exact nature of relief claimed as well as averments made in the plaint or written statements are not known to us. We are making these remarks for the reason that some of the reliefs claimed in the suit appeared to be falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tribunal whereas for other reliefs civil suit would be competent. Going by the ratio of Ramesh Gobind Ram (supra), suit for possession and rent is to be tried by the civil court. However, suit pertaining to removal of trustees and rendition of accounts would fall within the domain of the Tribunal. In so far as relief of cancellation of sale deed is concerned this is to be tried by the civil court for the reason that it is not covered by Section 6 or 7 of the Act whereby any jurisdiction is conferred upon the Tribunal to decided such an issue. Moreover, relief of possession, which can be given by the civil court, depends upon the question as to whether the sale deed is valid or not. Thus, the issue of sale deed and possession and inextricably mixed with each other. We have made these observations to clarify the legal position. In so far as present case is concerned, since the suit was filed much before the Act came into force, going by the dicta laid down in Sardar Khan case, it is the civil court where the suit was filed will continue to have the jurisdiction over the issue and civil court would be competent to decide the same. 24. We, thus, allow the appeal and set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court thereby dismissing the application filed by the respondent under Order 7 Rule 10 of the C.P.C. with the direction to the civil court to decide the suit.

                         published in    http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40740                       
  [REPORTABLE]

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7902 OF 2013
      (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 13215 of 2006)


      Bhanwar Lal & Anr.                                ………Appellants

                                     vs.




      Rajasthan Board of Muslim Wakf & Ors.          ……….Respondents




                               J U D G M E N T

      A.K. SIKRI, J.

      1.    Leave granted.

      2.    The question that needs determination in the present  appeal  is
      as to
whether Civil Court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit
      filed by the respondent herein or the subject matter of the suit  lies
      within the exclusive jurisdiction of the  Tribunal  constituted  under
      the Rajasthan Wakf Act,  1995  (hereinafter  to  be  referred  as  the
      ‘Act’), having regard to the provisions of  Section  85  of  the  Act.
      Though the suit was filed by the Respondent in the Civil Court, it  is
      on the application of the Respondent itself stating that the suit  was
      not maintainable in view of the bar contained in  Section  85  of  the
      Act, the Civil Court returned the plaint accepting the said contention
      of the Respondent. The Petitioners herein, who were the Defendants  in
      the suit, challenged the order of the Civil Court by  filing  Revision
      Petition under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure in the  High
      Court of Judicature for  Rajasthan,  at  Jodhpur.  The  said  Revision
      Petition is also dismissed by the  impugned  orders.  It  is  how  the
      present proceedings arise, questioning the validity of the  orders  of
      the High Court.

      3.    The facts around  which  the  controversy  is  involved  do  not
      require big canvass and are re-capitulated herein below:

           The  property  in  dispute  which  is  the  subject  matter   of
      litigation, is situated  in  the  town  of  Nagaur  in  the  State  of
      Rajasthan  and  is  in  the  possession  of  the  petitioners  herein.


















                                      Respondent  No.  1  is  the  Rajasthan
      Board of Muslim  Wakf  and  Respondent  No.  2  is  the  Muslim  Board
      Committee. Both the Respondents claimed that the subject  property  is
      the Wakf Property. These Respondents, filed the Civil Suit in the year
      1980 for possession of the said property as well as for  rendition  of
      accounts against the petitioners herein  claiming  it  to  be  a  wakf
      property. On coming to know,  after  filing  of  the  suit,  that  one
      trustee Mr. Naimuddin S/o Abdul Bari had  sold  the  property  to  the
      petitioners vide sale deed dated 28.2.1983, the Respondent Nos. 1 &  2
      amended the plaint by adding the relief of declaration to  the  effect
      that the said sale deed dated 28.2.1983 was invalid.

      4.    The Petitioners filed the written statement  and  contested  the
      suit  raising  number  of  defences.    The  Trial  Court,  i.e.   the
      Additional District Judge, framed the following issues on 4.8.1984:

           (i)   Whether Haveli and the land of compound including the land
                 underneath the measurements of which  have  been  given  in
                 paragraph-3 of the plain, are Wakf Property?

           (ii)  Whether the sale deed  executed  by  Defendant  No.  1  in
                 favour of Defendant No. 3 regarding the Haveli and the land
                 of the compound dated 22.06.1960 for Rs. 400/-  is  invalid
                 because the property is Wakf Property?

           (iii) Whether the sale deeds in favour of Defendants No. 4 and 5
                 are invalid with respect to Haveli  and  the  land  of  the
                 compound because the property is Wakf Property?

           (iv)  Whether the sale deed executed by defendant  Naimuddin  in
                 favour of defendant No. 5 on 28.2.1983 is invalid.

           (v)   Whether the plaintiffs are entitled to  file  the  present
                 suit?

           (vi)  Whether the suit is barred by limitation?

           (vii) Whether Court Fee insufficient?

           (viii)      Relief.




      5.    The suit, thereafter, went on trial. All the parties  led  their
      evidence, though it took considerable time. When the matter was  ready
      for final hearing, on 2.12.2000, the Respondent Nos. 1 & 2  filed  the
      application under Section 85 of the Act raising  the  contention  that
      the suit in question could not be tried by  the  Civil  Court  as  the
      jurisdiction of the Civil Court was barred. Prayer was made  that  the
      plaint filed by them may  be  returned  to  be  presented  before  the
      Tribunal constituted under the Act, which alone had  the  jurisdiction
      to try the suit.

      6.    Their application was allowed by the learned Additional District
      Judge vide orders dated 4.1.2001 holding that the question whether the
      property in question was Wakf Property or not, could be  decided  only
      by the Tribunal and Section 85 of  the  Act  specifically  barred  the
      jurisdiction of Civil Court. In the Revision  Petition  filed  by  the
      petitioners challenging the validity of the orders of  the  Additional
      District Judge, the High Court has concurred with this  view,  stating
      that the position in law in this behalf was settled by the judgment of
      the Rajasthan High  Court  in  Syed  Inamul  Haq  Shah  vs.  State  of
      Rajasthan and Anr.; AIR 2001  Raj  19.  In  the  short  order  of  two
      paragraphs referring to the aforesaid judgment, the Revision  Petition
      has been dismissed.

      7.    Learned Counsel for the  appellant,  at  the  outset,  drew  our
      attention to the judgment of this Court whereby the said  judgment  of
      the High Court has been overruled.  The  judgment  in  this  Court  is
      reported as 2007 (10) SCC 727 titled Sardar  Khan  and  Os.  vs.  Syed
      Nazmul Hasan (Seth) and Ors. He, thus submitted that  since  the  very
      foundation of the  impugned  judgment  stood  demolished  in  view  of
      overruling of the said judgment by this Court, the order of  the  High
      Court needs to be set aside.

      8.    To this  extent  submission  of  the  learned  Counsel  for  the
      appellant is correct. As pointed above, without any discussion of  its
      own, the High Court has simply relied upon  its  earlier  judgment  in
      Syed  Inamul  Haq  (supra)  and  dismissed  the   Revision   Petition.
      Therefore, while setting aside  the  impugned  order,  we  could  have
      remitted the case back to  the  High  Court  to  decide  the  Revision
      Petition afresh.   However,  learned  Counsel  for  both  the  parties
      submitted that the question of jurisdiction be decided by  this  Court
      so that this aspect attains finality, more so when the lis is  pending
      for quite some time.   Conceding to this prayer of both  the  parties,
      we heard the matter on  the  aforesaid  question  in  detail.  We  now
      propose to answer this question of jurisdiction, as formulated in  the
      beginning.

      9.     We have already mentioned the subject matter of the suit  filed
      by the Respondent Nos. 1 & 2 herein, which is predicated on  the  plea
      that the suit property is Wakf Property. On this basis it  is  pleaded
      in the suit that the sale deed in favour of the  Petitioners  is  null
      and void as Mr. Naimuddin who purportedly  executed  sale  deed  dated
      22.9.1983 in favour of the Petitioner No. 2 had no authority to do so.
      As a consequence,  the  Respondent  Nos.  1  &  2  maintain  that  the
      petitioners  are  in  unauthorized   possession   of   the   Property.
      Possession of the said property alongwith rendition  of  accounts  are
      the other reliefs claims in the suit.

      10.   Rajasthan Wakf Act, 1995, governs the  Wakf  properties  in  the
      said State. The Tribunal is constituted under this Act  and  is  inter
      alia empowered to determine suits regarding wakfs as laid  down  under
      Section 7 of the Act. Therefore,  we  would  like  to  reproduce  here
      Section 7 of the said Act.




           7.    Power of Tribunal to determine disputes regarding wakfs –

           (1)   If, after the  commencement  of  this  Act,  any  question
                 arises, whether a particular  property  specified  as  wakf
                 property in a list of wakfs is wakf  property  or  not,  or
                 whether a wakf specified in such list is a Shia wakf  or  a
                 Sunni wakf, the Board or the mutawalli of the wakf, or  any
                 person interested therein, may apply to the Tribunal having
                 jurisdiction in relation to such property, for the decision
                 of the question and the decision of  the  Tribunal  thereon
                 shall be final:

           Provided that-

                 (a)   in the case of the list of wakfs relating to any part
                       of the State and published after the commencement  of
                       this Act no such  application  shall  be  entertained
                       after the  expiry  of  one  year  from  the  date  of
                       publication of the list of wakfs.

                 (b)   in the case of the list of wakfs relating to any part
                       of the State and  published  at  any  time  within  a
                       period  of  one  year   immediately   preceding   the
                       commencement of this Act, such an application may  be
                       entertained by Tribunal within the period of one year
                       from such commencement:




           Provided further that where any such question has been heard and
           finally decided by a civil court in  a  suit  instituted  before
           such commencement, the Tribunal shall not re-open such question.

           (2)   Except where the Tribunal has no jurisdiction by reason of
                 the provision of sub-section (5), no proceeding under  this
                 Section in respect of any  wakf  shall  be  stayed  by  any
                 court, tribunal or other authority by reason  only  of  the
                 pendency of  any  suit,  application  or  appeal  or  other
                 proceeding arising  out  of  any  such  suit,  application,
                 appeal or other proceeding.

           (3)   The Chief Executive Officer shall not be mad  a  party  to
                 any application under sub-section (1).

           (4)   The list of wakfs and where any such list is  modified  in
                 pursuance of a decision of the Tribunal  under  sub-section
                 (1), the list as so modified, shall be final.

           (5)   The Tribunal shall not have jurisdiction to determine  any
                 matter  which  is  the  subject  matter  of  any  suit   or
                 proceeding instituted or commenced in a civil  court  under
                 sub-section 91) of section 6, before  the  commencement  of
                 this Act or which is the subject  matter of any appeal from
                 the decree passed before such commencement in any such suit
                 or proceeding or of any application for revision or  review
                 arising out of such suit, proceeding or appeal, as the case
                 may be”.




           Section 85 of the Act barred the jurisdiction of the Civil Court
      to decide such issues. Section 85 reads as under:

            “85.       Bar of Jurisdiction of Civil Courts. –  No  suit  or
                 other legal proceeding shall lie  in  any  Civil  Court  in
                 respect of any dispute, question or other  matter  relating
                 to any  wakf,  wakf  property  or  other  matter  which  is
                 required by or  under  this  Act  to  be  determined  by  a
                 Tribunal”.




      11.   As per Sub-section (1) and Section 7 of the Act, if any question
      arises, whether a particular property specified as wakf property in  a
      list of wakfs is wakf property or not, it is the Tribunal which has to
      decide such a question and the decision of the tribunal is made final.
      When such a question is covered under sub-section (1)  of  Section  7,
      then obviously the jurisdiction of the Civil Court  stands   concluded
      to decide such a question in view of specific bar contained in Section
      85.  It would be pertinent to mention that, as per sub-section (5)  of
      Section 7, if a suit or proceeding is already pending in a Civil Court
      before the commencement of the Act in question, then such  proceedings
      before the Civil Court would continue and the Tribunal would not  have
      any jurisdiction.

      12.   On a conjoint  reading  of  Section  7  and  Section  85,  legal
      position is summed up as under:

              i)  In  respect  of  the  questions/  disputes  mentioned   in
                 sub-section (1) of Section 7, exclusive jurisdiction  vests
                 with the tribunal, having jurisdiction in relation to  such
                 property.

             ii) Decision of the tribunal thereon is made final.

            iii) The jurisdiction of the Civil Court is barred in respect of
                 any dispute/ question or other matter relating to any wakf,
                 wakf property for other matter, which  is  required  by  or
                 under this Act, to be determined by a tribunal,

             iv) There is however an exception made under Section 7(5) viz.,
                 those matters which are already pending  before  the  Civil
                 Court, even if the subject  matter  is  covered  under  sub
                 section (1)  of  section  6,  the  Civil  Court  would  not
                 continue and the tribunal shall have  the  jurisdiction  to
                 determine those matters.




      13.   Present suit was instituted in the year 1980, i.e.  much  before
      the Rajasthan Wakf Act, 1995 was enacted. Therefore,  if  the  subject
      matter is covered by sub-section (1) of Section 6, the jurisdiction of
      Civil Court remains by virtue of Section 5 of the Act. To enable us to
      find an answer to this, the provisions of Section 5 and 6 also  become
      relevant and need to be noticed at  this  juncture.  Before  that,  we
      would like to state the scheme of chapter II of the Act which contains
      all these Sections including Section 7 Chapter II starts with  Section
      4.

      14.   Under Section 4 of  the  Act,  power  is  given  to  the  Survey
      Commissioner to conduct  survey  and  make  enquiries  for  discerning
      whether particular properties are wakf properties or not. After making
      the enquiries, the Survey Commissioner, who is  given  the  powers  of
      Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure in  respect  of  certain
      matters specified under Section 4 (4) of the Act, makes  a  report  to
      the State Government.  On receipt of such a report  under  sub-section
      (3) of section 4 of the Act, the State Government  has  to  forward  a
      copy of the same to Wakf Board as stipulated under Section 5(1) of the
      Act. The Wakf Board is required to examine this  report,  as  provided
      under sub-section (2) of section 5 of the Act and is to publish in the
      official gazette a list of Sunni wakfs or Shia  wakfs  in  the  State,
      whether in existence at the commencement of this Act  or  coming  into
      existence thereafter. If any dispute arises in respect of  wakfs  list
      which is published in the official gazette under section 5 of the Act,
      the Board or the mutawalli  of  the  wakf  or  any  person  interested
      therein is given a right to institute  a  suit  in  a  tribunal.  This
      remedy is provided under Section 6 of the Act, Section 6  of  the  Act
      which reads as under:

      Xxxxxx

           “6.   Disputes regarding wakfs. –


                 (1)   If any question arises whether a particular  property
                 specified as wakf property in the list  of  wakfs  is  wakf
                 property or not or whether a wakf specified in such list is
                 a Shia wakf or sunni wakf, the Board or  the  mutawalli  of
                 the wakf or any person interested therein may  institute  a
                 suit in a tribunal for the decision of the question and the
                 decision of the tribunal in respect of such matter shall be
                 final.






                 Provided that no such suit  shall  be  entertained  by  the
                 tribunal afer the expiry of one year from the date  of  the
                 publication of the list of wakfs.






                 (2)   Notwithstanding  anything  contained  in  sub-section
                 (1), no proceeding under this Act in respect  of  any  wakf
                 shall be stayed by reason only of the pendency of any  such
                 suit or of any appeal or other proceeding  arising  out  of
                 such suit.






                 (3)   The Survey Commissioner shall not be made a party  to
                 any suit under sub-section (1) and no suit, prosecution  or
                 other legal proceeding shall lie against him in respect  of
                 anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done
                 in pursuance of this Act or any rules made thereunder.






                 (4)   The list of wakfs shall, unless  it  is  modified  in
                 pursuance of a decision or the Tribunal  under  sub-section
                 (1), be final and conclusive.






                 (5)   On and from the commencement of this Act in a  State,
                 no suit or other legal proceeding shall  be  instituted  or
                 commenced in a Court in  that  State  in  relation  to  any
                 question referred to in sub-section (1)”.













      15.   The subject matter of the suit which can  be  filed  before  the
      tribunal, relates to the list of Wakfs as published in Section  5.  If
      any dispute arises in respect of the  said  list  namely  whether  the
      property specified in the said list is Wakf property or not or  it  is
      Shia wakf or Sunni wakf, suit can  be  filed  for  decision  on  these
      questions. Sub-section (5) of section  7  saves  the  jurisdiction  of
      those suits, subject matter whereof is covered by sub- section (1)  of
      section 6, which were instituted before the commencement of said suit.
       Keeping in view this legal framework, we have to  answer  this  issue
      that has arisen.

      16.   Before we deal with  controversy  at  hand,  we  would  like  to
      discuss some judgments of this Court that  may  have  bearing  on  the
      issue.

            First case that needs mention is Sardar Khan and Ors.  vs.  Syed
      Nazmul Hasan (Seth) and Ors.; 2007 (4) Scale 81; 2007 (10) SCC 727. In
      that case Civil Suit was filed by the plaintiffs (Respondents  in  the
      Supreme Court) in the year 1976 in the Court  of  Additional  District
      Judge, Jaipur which was dismissed. The  plaintiffs  filed  the  appeal
      before the High Court taking the plea that by virtue of Section 85  of
      the Act, the Civil Court failed to have any jurisdiction in the matter
      and, therefore, judgment and decree passed by the  learned  Additional
      District Judge was  without  jurisdiction.  This  appeal  was  allowed
      accepting the contention of the Respondents. Challenging the order  of
      the High Court, the appellants had filed the Special Leave Petition in
      which leave was granted and the appeal was heard by  this  Court.  The
      Court took into consideration the provisions of Sections 6, 7  and  85
      of the Act and concluded that the said Act will not be  applicable  to
      the pending suits or proceedings or appeals  or  revisions  which  had
      commenced prior to 1.1.1996 as provided in sub-section (5) of  Section
      7 of the Act and allowed the appeal  holding  that  Civil  Court  will
      continue to have the jurisdiction in respect of the cases filed before
      coming into force Wakf Act, 1995.

      17.   The provisions of  Andhra  Pradesh  Wakf  Act,  1995  which  are
      identical in nature, came up for consideration again in  the  case  of
      Ramesh Gobindram (Dead) Through LRs v. Sugra Humayun Mirza Wakf;  2010
      (8) SCC 726. The question which was posed for determination was:

           “Whether the Wakf Tribunal constituted under Section 83  of  the
           Act,  1995  was  competent  to  entertain  and  adjudicate  upon
           disputes regarding eviction of the appellants who are  occupying
           different items of what are admittedly wakf properties?”




      18.   Suits for eviction were filed before the Wakf Tribunal which had
      held that it had the jurisdiction to entertain those suits  and  after
      adjudication had decreed the suits filed by  the  Respondent  –  Sugra
      Humayun Mirza Wakf. The tenants/ appellant  filed  revision  petitions
      against that order before the  High  Court  of  Andhra  Pradesh  which
      dismissed the revision  petition,  affirming  the  view  of  the  Wakf
      Tribunal regarding its jurisdiction.   Against the order of  the  High
      Court, the appellant approached this Court. The Court noticed that  in
      few judgments High Court of Andhra Pradesh had taken the view that the
      Tribunal established under Section 83 of the Wakf Act is competent  to
      entertain and adjudicate upon all kinds of disputes  so  long  as  the
      same relate to any Wakf Property. Similar views were expressed by  the
      High Court of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala as well as Punjab  and
      Haryana High Court. However, in the judgments  rendered  by  the  High
      Courts of Karnataka, Madras, Allahabad and Bombay a contrary view  was
      taken. This Court, after detailed analysis of the  provisions  of  the
      Act, affirmed the view taken by the High Court of Karnataka and  other
      High Courts and held that the judgment of the  High  Court  of  Andhra
      Pradesh etc. was incorrect in law. It was categorically noted that the
      Tribunal established under Section 83  of  the  Act  had  the  limited
      jurisdiction to deal only with those matters which had  been  provided
      for in Section 5, Section 6(5), Section 7 and 85 of the  Act  and  the
      jurisdiction of Civil Court to deal with matters not covered by  these
      Sections was not ousted in  respect  of  other  matters.    The  court
      exhaustively dealt with the provisions of Sections 6 and 7 of the  Act
      in order to determine the scope of jurisdiction of  the  Tribunal.  It
      noted that the plain reading of sub-section (5) of section  6  (supra)
      would show  that the civil court’s jurisdiction to entertain any  suit
      or other proceedings stands specifically excluded in relation  to  any
      question referred to in sub-section(1). The exclusion, it  is  evident
      from the language employed, is not absolute or all  pervasive.  It  is
      limited to the adjudication of the questions (a) whether a  particular
      property specified as wakf property in the list of wakfs is or is  not
      a wakf property, and (b) whether a wakf specified in such  list  is  a
      shia wakf  or sunni wakf.      It was  also  expressed  that   from  a
      conjoint reading of the provisions of Sections 6 and 7 of the Act,  it
      is clear that the jurisdiction to determine whether or not a  property
      is a wakf property or whether a wakf is a shia wakf or  a  sunni  wakf
      rests entirely with the Tribunal and no suit or other  proceeding  can
      be instituted or commenced in a civil court in relation  to  any  such
      question after the commencement of the Act. What is noteworthy is that
      under Section 6 read with Section 7 of the Act, the institution of   a
      suit in the civil court is barred only in regard to questions that are
      specifically enumerated therein. The bar is  not  complete  so  as  to
      extend to other questions that may  arise  in  relation  to  the  wakf
      property.  It further noted that under Section  85  of  the  Act,  the
      civil court’s jurisdiction is excluded only in cases where the  matter
      in dispute is required under the Act to be determined by the Tribunal.
      The words “which is required by or under this Act to be determined  by
      a Tribunal” holds the key to the question whether or not all  disputes
      concerning  the  wakf  or  wakf  property  stand  excluded  from   the
      jurisdiction of the civil court.  The Court thus, concluded  that  the
      jurisdiction of civil courts to try eviction cases was  not  excluded.
      Rather, the aforesaid provisions of  the  Act  did  not  include  such
      disputes to fall within the jurisdiction of  the  Wakf  Tribunal,  and
      therefore the Wakf Tribunal did not have the jurisdiction to deal with
      eviction matters.  For better appreciation of the issue decided in the
      said judgment, we reproduce hereunder the relevant discussion:

           “31.  It is clear from sub-section (1) of Section 83 above  that
                  the State Government is empowered  to  establish  as  many
                  Tribunals as it may deem fit for the determination of  any
                  dispute, question or other matter relating to  a  wakf  or
                  wakf property under the Act and define the local limits of
                  their jurisdiction.  Sub  –  section  (2)  of  Section  83
                  permits any mutawalli or other person interested in a wakf
                  or any person aggrieved of an order made under the Act  or
                  the Rules framed there under to approach the  Tibunal  for
                  determination of any  dispute,  question  or  other  mater
                  relating to the  wakf.  What  is  important  is  that  the
                  Tribunal can be approached only if the person doing so  is
                  a mutawalli or a person interested in a wakf or  aggrieved
                  by an order made under the Act or the Rules. The remaining
                  provisions of Section 83 provide for  the  procedure  that
                  the Tribunal shall follow and  the  manner  in  which  the
                  decision of a Tribunal shall be executed.  No  appeal  is,
                  however, maintainable against any such order although  the
                  High Court may call for the records and decide  about  the
                  correctness, legality or propriety  of  any  determination
                  made by the Tribunal.

           32.   There is, in our view, nothing in Section  83  to  suggest
                  that it pushes the exclusion of the  jurisdiction  of  the
                  civil courts extends (sic) beyond what has  been  provided
                  for in Section 6(5), Section 7 and Section 85 of the  Act.
                  It simply empowers the Government to constitute a Tribunal
                  or Tribunals for determination of any dispute, question of
                  other matter relating to a wakf  or  wakf  property  which
                  does not ipso facto mean  that  the  jurisdiction  of  the
                  civil courts stands completely excluded by reasons of such
                  establishment.

           33.    It  is  noteworthy   that   the   expression   “for   the
                  determination of any dispute, question or  to  her  matter
                  relating to a wakf or wakf property “ appearing in Section
                  83(1) also appears in Section 85 of the  Act.  Section  85
                  does not,  however,  exclude  the  jurisdiction  of  civil
                  courts in respect of any or  every  question  or  disputes
                  only because  the  same  relates  to  a  wakf  or  a  wakf
                  property.  Section  85  in   terms   provides   that   the
                  jurisdiction of the civil court shall  stand  excluded  in
                  relation to only such matters as are required by or  under
                  this Act to be determined by the Tribunal.

           34.   The crucial question that shall have  to  be  answered  in
                  every  case  where  a  plea  regarding  exclusion  of  the
                  jurisdiction of the civil court is raised is  whether  the
                  Tribunal is under the Act or the Rules  required  to  deal
                  with the matter sought to be brought before a civil court.
                  If it is not, the jurisdiction of the civil court  is  not
                  excluded. But if the Tribunal is required  to  decide  the
                  matter the jurisdiction of the  civil  court  would  stand
                  excluded.

           35.   In the cases at hand, the Act does  not  provide  for  any
                  proceedings before the Tribunal  for  determination  of  a
                  dispute concerning the eviction of a tenant in  occupation
                  of a wakf property or the rights and  obligations  of  the
                  lessor and the lessees of such property.  A  suit  seeking
                  eviction of the  tenants  from  what  is  admittedly  wakf
                  property could, therefore, be filed only before the  civil
                  court and not before the Tribunal.




      19.   It would also be  profitable  to  refer  to  that  part  of  the
      judgment where the Court gave guidance and the need for  a  particular
      approach which is required to deal with such cases.   In  this  behalf
      the Court specified the modalities as under:

           “11.  Before we take up the core issue whether the  jurisdiction
                 of a civil court to entertain and adjudicate upon  disputes
                 regarding eviction  of  (sic  from)  wakf  property  stands
                 excluded under the Wakf Act, we  may  briefly  outline  the
                 approach that the courts have to adopt while  dealing  with
                 such questions.

           12.   The well-settled rule in this regard  is  that  the  civil
                 courts have the jurisdiction to  try  all  suits  of  civil
                 nature except those entertainment whereof is  expressly  or
                 impliedly barred. The jurisdiction of the civil  courts  to
                 try suits of civil nature is very  expansive.  Any  statute
                 which  excludes  such  jurisdiction   is,   therefore,   an
                 exception to the general rule that all  disputes  shall  be
                 triable by a civil court.  Any  such  exception  cannot  be
                 readily inferred by the courts. The  court  would  lean  in
                 favour of a construction that would uphold the retention of
                 jurisdiction of the civil courts  and  shift  the  onus  of
                 proof to the party that  asserts  that  the  civil  court’s
                 jurisdiction is ousted.

           13.   Even in cases where the statute accords  finality  to  the
                 orders passed by the Tribunals, the court will have to  see
                 whether the Tribunal has the power  to  grant  the  reliefs
                 which the civil courts would normally grant in suits  filed
                 before them. If the answer is in the negative, exclusion of
                 the civil court’s  jurisdiction  would  not  be  ordinarily
                 inferred. In Rajasthan SRTC v. Bal Mukund Bairwa, a  three-
                 Judge Bench of this Court observed

                       “There is  a  presumption  that  a  civil  court  has
                       jurisdiction. Ouster of civil court’s jurisdiction is
                       not to be readily inferred. A person  taking  a  plea
                       contra must establish the same. Even in a case  where
                       the jurisdiction of a civil court  is  sought  to  be
                       barred under a statute, the civil court can  exercise
                       its  jurisdiction  in   respect   of   some   matters
                       particularly when the statutory authority or tribunal
                       acts without jurisdiction.”




      20.   Another aspect of this Act came up for consideration in the case
      of Board of Wakf, West Bengal & Anr. v. Anis Fatma Begum & Anr. (2010)
      14 SCC 588.  The subject matter of the dispute in that case related to
      the demarcation of the wakf property in two distinctive parts, one for
      wakf-al-al-aulad and the remaining portion  for  pious  and  religious
      purposes. The demarcation was challenged on the ground that it was not
      in consonance with the provisions of the Wakf Deed.   The  Court  held
      that it is the Tribunal constituted under Section 83 of the Act  which
      will have exclusive jurisdiction to deal with these  questions  in  as
      much  as  these  questions  pertained  to  determination  of  disputes
      relating to wakf property and the  jurisdiction  of  Civil  Court  was
      ousted.

      21.   As per the ratio  in  Ramesh  Gobindram  (Supra)  the  exclusive
      jurisdiction lies with the Tribunal  to  decide  only  those  disputes
      which are referred to in section 6 and  7.  Further,  jurisdiction  of
      Civil Courts is barred only in respect of such matters and the matters
      which are not covered by Section 6 and 7 of the Act. Moreover, in view
      of the judgment in Sardar Khan’s case, the  suits  which  are  already
      pending before coming into force the Wakf Act,  1995  will  remain  in
      civil court which will continue to have jurisdiction.

      22.   On the basis of the aforesaid principles we proceed  to  discuss
      the present case. Interestingly, as  per  the  Respondents  themselves
      there is no dispute that the property in question is a wakf  property.
      It is argued by the learned Counsel  for  the  Respondents  that  even
      before the trial court, the appellant had accepted that  the  disputed
      property is wakf property (Though issues  framed  suggest  otherwise).
      This is so recorded in para 3 of the orders passed by the trial  court
      while deciding the application of the respondent for returning of  the
      plaint.

      23.   The suit  is  for  cancellation  of  sale  deed,  rent  and  for
      possession as well  as  rendition  of  accounts  and  for  removal  of
      trustees. However, pleading in the suit are not filed before  us  and,
      therefore, exact nature of relief claimed as well as averments made in
      the plaint or written statements are not known to us.  We  are  making
      these remarks for the reason that some of the reliefs claimed  in  the
      suit appeared to be falling within the exclusive jurisdiction  of  the
      Tribunal whereas for other reliefs  civil  suit  would  be  competent.
      Going by the ratio of Ramesh Gobind Ram (supra), suit  for  possession
      and rent is to be tried by the civil court. However,  suit  pertaining
      to removal of trustees and rendition of accounts would fall within the
      domain of the Tribunal. In so far as relief of  cancellation  of  sale
      deed is concerned this is to be tried  by  the  civil  court  for  the
      reason that it is not covered by Section 6 or 7 of the Act whereby any
      jurisdiction is conferred upon the Tribunal to decided such an  issue.
       Moreover, relief of possession, which  can  be  given  by  the  civil
      court, depends upon the question as to whether the sale deed is  valid
      or not. Thus, the issue of sale deed and possession  and  inextricably
      mixed with each other. We have made these observations to clarify  the
      legal position.  In so far as present case  is  concerned,  since  the
      suit was filed much before the Act came into force, going by the dicta
      laid down in Sardar Khan case, it is the civil court  where  the  suit
      was filed will continue to have the jurisdiction over  the  issue  and
      civil court would be competent to decide the same.

      24.   We, thus, allow the appeal and set aside the  impugned  judgment
      of the High Court thereby dismissing  the  application  filed  by  the
      respondent under Order 7 Rule 10 of the C.P.C. with the  direction  to
      the civil court to decide the suit.

      25.   No costs.

                                                              ….……………………..J.
                                                        [K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN]






                                                               ………………………….J.
                                                                [A.K. SIKRI]






      New Delhi
      9th September, 2013














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