‘Tribunal cannot assume supervisory jurisdiction to pass any direction upon the Board of Wakf and/or any other authority under the said Act.’
The Calcutta High Court has held that supervisory jurisdiction is not vested with the Wakf Tribunal, and it cannot assume jurisdiction to pass any direction upon the Board of Wakf to dispose of any pending application before it.
A division bench of Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya and Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay made this observation while upholding a single bench order that had directed early disposal of the long-pending application before the Wakf Board seeking appointment of mutawallis.
The bench observed that as per the Wakf Act 1995, there are three judicial functions which are vested with the tribunal to be discharged: “Section 83 provides for constitution of Wakf Tribunal for discharging three (3) types of judicial functions viz. (i) as a trying forum by entertaining suits as contemplated under Section 6, Section 7 and Section 32(3) of the said Act; (ii) as an appellate forum by entertaining appeals as contemplated under Section 33(4), Section 13 38(7), Section 40(2), Section 40(4), Section 51(5), Section 52(4), Section 64(4), Section 67(4), Section 67(6), Section 69(3) and Section 73(3) and (iii) under Section 83(2) by entertaining applications, as contemplated under Section 35, Section 39(3), Section 48(2), Section 83(2) and Section 94(1) of the said Act.”
The bench then said that the tribunal is not vested with any supervisory jurisdiction over the Board of Wakf or any other authority created under the said Act. “Tribunal cannot assume supervisory jurisdiction to pass any direction upon the Board of Wakf and/or any other authority under the said Act. As such, jurisdiction which was not vested either directly or indirectly upon the Tribunal by the said Act cannot be assumed by the Tribunal by itself. Since the supervisory jurisdiction is not vested with the Tribunal, the Tribunal cannot assume jurisdiction to pass any direction upon the Board of Wakf to dispose of any pending application before it.”
Upholding the single bench order, the bench said that the high court is the only court which, by virtue of its supervisory jurisdiction which it enjoys under Articles 226 and/or 227 of the Constitution of India over the Courts and Tribunals subordinate to it, can not only entertain such writ petition but also can pass appropriate direction therein.
The bench, however, clarified that any dispute as referred to in Sections 6 and 7 of the Wakf Act, which is required to be decided by the tribunal, ordinarily cannot be entertained by the high court straightway in its writ jurisdiction.