During the pendency of suit, an application was filed by the defendant Nos. 1 to 5 including the appellant herein under Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter called as ‘CPC’) for rejection of plaint. The said application was allowed by the Wakf Tribunal on 8th March, 2016. On revision by the plaintiff, the order of rejection of plaint passed by the Wakf Tribunal is set aside by the High Court.= The property in question is not notified in the Gazette as a Wakf Property at any point of time till this date and hence it is not open for the respondent to file this suit on the presumption that the property in question is a Wakf property. Since the property is not a Wakf property, the Wakf Tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit. That though the notification issued containing the list of certain Wakf properties was gazetted by the Wakf Board as early as in the year 1962, the High Court is not justified in raising doubt in the year 2013 about such notification which had been remained unchallenged for more than 50 years. It is not open for the respondent to generate the litigation only to harass the appellant.- In the matter on hand, as mentioned supra, the Tribunal and the High Court, on facts have held that the property in question is not included in the list published in the Official Gazette as a wakf property. Such non- inclusion was never questioned by any person including the Wakf Board. The Board has not exercised jurisdiction under Section 27 of 1954 Act and Section 40 of 1995 Act, though 50 years have elapsed from the date of the gazette notification. Hence, in our considered opinion, the averments in the plaint do not disclose the cause of action for filing the suit. The suit is manifestly meritless and vexatious. So also the suit is barred by law for the reasons mentioned supra.

(Reportable)

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO.5368/2017

(Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No.35352 of 2016)

Madanuri Sri Rama Chandra Murthy                   ….Appellant

Vs.

Syed Jalal                                                …..Respondent

J U D G M E N T

Mohan M.Shantanagoudar,J.

Leave granted.

2.     The  order  dated  07.09.2016  passed  in  Civil  Revision   Petition

No.2472/2016 by the High Court  of  Judicature  at  Hyderabad  allowing  the

Revision  Petition  and  setting  aside  the  order  dated   08.03.2016   on

I.A.No.458/2015 in OS No.59/2013 passed by the  Andhra  Pradesh  State  Wakf

Tribunal at Hyderabad is called in this Appeal. The brief facts  leading  to

this appeal are as under:

3.    The respondent herein filed  suit  No.59/2013  before  Andhra  Pradesh

State Wakf Tribunal at Hyderabad  seeking  cancellation  of  the  sale  deed

dated 12.1.2013 in respect of the land bearing Survey No.113  admeasuring  4

acres 72 cents situated at Pernamitta village, Prakasam District,  State  of

Andhra Pradesh. Certain consequential reliefs are also  sought  for.  It  is

the case of plaintiff that Survey Nos.112 and 113 to an extent of  18  acres

88 cents situated at  Pernamitta  village  were  notified  in  the  Official

Gazette of Wakf Board  dated  28.6.1962  at  serial  No.966  and  were  also

surveyed by the Survey Commissioner appointed under the  provisions  of  the

Wakf Act. The part of Survey No.113 to an extent of 4  acres  72  cents  was

purchased by the defendant through the sale deed  dated  12.1.2013  executed

by Mr. Alluri Koteshwar Rao (Defendant No.6)  in  whose  name  property  was

standing. Plaintiff  claims  to  be  Mutwalli  of  the  Wakf.  The  sum  and

substance of the plaintiff’s case is that the  defendant  Nos.1  to  5  have

purchased the suit property from a private person though the  said  property

is the Wakf property and therefore the sale deed dated  12.1.2013  does  not

convey any right, title or interest in favour of the defendants 1 to 5.

4.    It is the case of the appellant/defendant No.1 that the  property  was

and is not a Wakf property inasmuch as it  was  never  notified  as  a  Wakf

property; though official gazette was published as  back  as  on  28.6.1962,

the property does not find place in the gazette notifying the same  as  Wakf

property; it is a private property  and  that  he  had  purchased  the  same

through a valid sale deed.

5.    During  the  pendency  of  suit,  an  application  was  filed  by  the

defendant Nos. 1 to 5 including the appellant herein under  Order  VII  Rule

11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter called  as  ‘CPC’)  for

rejection of plaint. The said application was allowed by the  Wakf  Tribunal

on 8th March, 2016. On revision by the plaintiff, the order of rejection  of

plaint passed by the Wakf Tribunal is set aside by the High Court.

6.    Learned counsel for the  appellant  taking  us  through  the  impugned

judgment of the High Court submitted that this is a  fit  case  wherein  the

plaint ought to be rejected at the threshold inasmuch  as  the  plaint  does

not disclose any cause of action and  the  suit  is  barred  by  law.    The

property in question is not notified in the Gazette as a  Wakf  Property  at

any point of time  till  this  date  and  hence  it  is  not  open  for  the

respondent to file this  suit  on  the  presumption  that  the  property  in

question is a Wakf property.  Since the property is  not  a  Wakf  property,

the Wakf Tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain  the  suit.  That  though

the notification issued containing the list of certain Wakf  properties  was

gazetted by the Wakf Board as early as in the year 1962, the High  Court  is

not justified in raising doubt in the  year  2013  about  such  notification

which had been remained unchallenged for more than 50  years.    It  is  not

open for the respondent to  generate  the  litigation  only  to  harass  the

appellant.

7.    Per contra, advocate for the  respondent  submitted  that  though  the

gazette notification did not contain the property  in  question  as  a  Wakf

property, the Survey Report disclosed the property in  question  as  a  Wakf

property and therefore the defect while publishing the Gazette  notification

needs to be rectified.  He submitted that the High  Court  is  justified  in

passing the impugned judgment after verifying the records and therefore,  it

is not a fit case for rejecting of plaint at the threshold.

8.    The plaint can be rejected under  Order  VII  Rule  11  if  conditions

enumerated in the said provision are fulfilled. It is  needless  to  observe

that the power under Order VII Rule 11, CPC can be exercised  by  the  Court

at any stage of the suit. The relevant facts which need to  be  looked  into

for deciding the application are the averments of the plaint  only.   If  on

an entire and meaningful reading of the plaint, it is found  that  the  suit

is manifestly vexatious and meritless in the sense  of  not  disclosing  any

right to sue, the court should exercise power under Order VII Rule 11,  CPC.

Since the power conferred on the Court to  terminate  civil  action  at  the

threshold is drastic, the conditions enumerated under Order VII Rule  11  of

CPC to the exercise of power of rejection of  plaint  have  to  be  strictly

adhered to. The averments of the plaint have to be read as a whole  to  find

out whether the averments disclose a cause of action or whether the suit  is

barred by any law. It is  needless  to  observe  that  the  question  as  to

whether the suit is barred by any law, would always depend  upon  the  facts

and circumstances of each case. The averments in the  written  statement  as

well as the  contentions  of  the  defendant  are  wholly  immaterial  while

considering the prayer of the defendant for rejection of  the  plaint.  Even

when, the allegations made in the plaint are taken to be correct as a  whole

on their face value, if they show that the suit is barred by any law, or  do

not disclose cause of action, the application for rejection  of  plaint  can

be entertained and the  power  under  Order  VII  Rule  11  of  CPC  can  be

exercised. If clever drafting of the plaint has created the  illusion  of  a

cause of action, the court will nip it in the bud at the  earliest  so  that

bogus litigation will end at the earlier stage.

9.    In order to prima facie satisfy his case as  pleaded  in  plaint  that

the Suit property  is  a  Wakf  property,  the  plaintiff  produced  certain

documents including Gazette Notification dated  28.06.1962.   The  averments

in the plaint disclose that the property bearing Survey No. 113 situated  at

Pernamitta village was notified as Wakf property under  Serial  No.  966  in

the Official Gazette  published  by  Andhra  Pradesh  State  Wakf  Board  on

28.06.1962.  On verification of the Gazette Notification, the Wakf  Tribunal

has concluded that under Serial No. 966 (Page No.742) the property  attached

to Ashoorkhana situated at Kolachanakota  village  was  shown  and  not  the

property belonging to Pernamitta village. The  name  of  the  plaintiff  was

also not shown  as  Mutwalli.  The  property  in  question  is  situated  in

Pernamitta village, whereas the Gazette which is relied upon shows that  the

survey no. 113 is situated at a different village which is stated to be  far

away (about 20 kms.) from village Pernamitta. There is one more  Ashoorkhana

situated at Pernamitta village which is  not  the  subject  matter  of  this

litigation. List of wakf properties pertaining to  Pernamitta  village  does

not contain the property in question.  The  Tribunal,  on  facts,  thus  has

concluded that property in question does not  find  place  in  the  Official

Gazette of the Wakf Board.  The  High  Court  also  concurs  with  the  Wakf

Tribunal in that regard. Thus, there are concurrent findings  of  fact  that

property in question  was  not  notified  in  Official  Gazette  as  a  Wakf

property, as alleged by the plaintiff/respondent.

10.   The High Court though has agreed with the finding of fact  arrived  at

by the Tribunal that the property was not notified as Wakf property  in  the

Official Gazette, raising some doubt about  the  non-inclusion/inclusion  of

the property in the Survey Commissioner’s Report, erroneously has  proceeded

to set aside the order of the Tribunal.

11.    As  mentioned  supra,  notification  containing  the  list  of   Wakf

properties relied upon by the plaintiff  was published in  Gazette  as  back

as on 28.06.1962 as per the provisions of  Section  5  of   Wakf  Act,  1954

(hereinafter, in short, called as 1954 Act) which is  subsequently  replaced

by the Waqf Act, 1995 (hereinafter, in short, called as  1995  Act).  Before

proceeding further, it would be beneficial  to  note  the  certain  relevant

provisions contained under the 1954 Act as well as 1995 Act for the  purpose

of deciding this matter.

|The WAQF ACT, 1995                  |The WAKF ACT. 1954 (Old)             |

|4.  Preliminary survey of [auqaf]. –|4.  Preliminary survey of wakfs. –   |

|                                    |                                     |

|(1) The State Government may, by    |(1)  The State Government may, by    |

|notification in the Official        |notification in the Official Gazette,|

|Gazette, appoint for the state a    |appoint for the state a [Survey      |

|Survey Commissioner of [Auqaf] and  |Commissioner] of Wakfs and as many   |

|as many Additional or Assistant     |Additional or Assistant [Survey      |

|Survey Commissioners of [Auqaf] as  |Commissioners] of Wakfs as may be    |

|may be necessary for the purpose of |necessary for the purpose of making a|

|making a survey of [auqaf in the    |survey of Wakf properties existing in|

|state].                             |the State at the date of the         |

|[(1A) Every State Government shall  |commencement of this Act.            |

|maintain a list of auqaf referred to|                                     |

|in sub-section (1) and the survey of|                                     |

|auqaf shall be completed within a   |                                     |

|period of one year from the date of |                                     |

|commencement of the Wakf (Amendment)|                                     |

|Act, 20136, in case such survey was |                                     |

|not done before the commencement of |                                     |

|the Wakf (Amendment) Act, 2013:     |                                     |

|Provided that where no Survey       |                                     |

|Commissioner of Waqf has been       |                                     |

|appointed a Survey Commissioner for |                                     |

|aquaf shall be appointed within     |                                     |

|three months from the date of such  |                                     |

|commencement.]                      |                                     |

|                                    |                                     |

|(2) All Additional and Assistant    |(2) All Additional and Assistant     |

|Survey Commissioners of [Auqaf]     |[Survey Commissioners] of Wakfs shall|

|shall perform their functions under |perform their functions under this   |

|this Act under the general          |Act under the general supervision and|

|supervision and control of the      |control of the [Survey Commissioner] |

|Survey Commissioner of [Auqaf].     |of Wakfs.                            |

|                                    |                                     |

|(3) The Survey Commissioner shall,  |(3) The [Survey Commissioner] shall, |

|after making such inquiry as he may |after making such inquiry as he may  |

|consider necessary, submit his      |consider necessary, submit his       |

|report, in respect of [auqaf]       |report, [in respect of Wakfs existing|

|existing at the date of commencement|at the date of commencement of this  |

|of this Act in the State or any part|Act in the State or any part         |

|thereof, to the State Government    |thereof,] to the State Government    |

|containing the following            |containing the following particulars,|

|particulars, namely:-               |namely:-                             |

|                                    |                                     |

|(a) …………..                          |(a) …………..                           |

|(b) ……………                           |(b) ……………                            |

|(c) ……………                           |(c) ……………                            |

|(d) ……………                           |(d) ……………                            |

|(e) ……………  and                      |(e) ……………  and                       |

|(f) …………….                          |(f) …………….                           |

|                                    |                                     |

|(4)…………………….                        |(4)…………………….                         |

|                                    |                                     |

|(5) …….                             |(5)…..                               |

|                                    |                                     |

|(6) The State Government may, by    |(6)  The State Government may, by    |

|notification in the Official        |notification in the Official Gazette,|

|Gazette, direct the Survey          |direct the Survey Commissioner to    |

|Commissioner to make a second or    |make a second or subsequent survey of|

|subsequent survey of [waqf]         |wakf properties in the State and the |

|properties in the State and the     |provisions of sub-sections (2), (3), |

|provisions of sub-sections (2), (3),|(4) and (5) shall apply to such      |

|(4) and (5) shall apply to such     |survey as they apply to a survey     |

|survey as they apply to a survey    |directed under sub-section (1):      |

|directed under sub-section (1):     |                                     |

|                                    |Provided that no such second or      |

|Provided that no such second or     |subsequent survey shall be made until|

|subsequent survey shall be made     |the expiry of a period of twenty     |

|until the expiry of a period of [ten|years from the date on which the     |

|years] from the date on which the   |report in relation to the immediately|

|report in relation to the           |previous survey was submitted under  |

|immediately previous survey was     |sub-section (3).]                    |

|submitted under sub-section (3):    |                                     |

|[Provided further that the waqf     |                                     |

|properties already notified shall   |                                     |

|not be reviewed again in subsequent |                                     |

|survey except where the status of   |                                     |

|such property has been changed in   |                                     |

|accordance with the previous of any |                                     |

|law.]                               |                                     |

|5.  Publication of list of [auqaf]. |5.  Publication of list of wakfs. –  |

|–                                   |                                     |

|                                    |(1)  On receipt of a report under    |

|(1) On receipt of a report under    |sub-section (3) of section 4, the    |

|sub-section (3) of section 4, the   |State Government shall forward a copy|

|State Government shall forward a    |of the same to the Board.            |

|copy of the same to the Board.      |                                     |

|                                    |(2) The Board shall examine the      |

|(2) The Board shall examine the     |report forwarded to it under         |

|report forwarded to it under        |sub-section (1) and publish, in the  |

|sub-section (1) and [forward it back|Official Gazette, a list of wakfs    |

|to the Government within a period of|[[in the State, or as the case may   |

|six months for publication in the   |be, the part of the State, whether in|

|Official Gazette] a list of Sunni   |existence at the commencement of this|

|[auqaf] or Shia [auqaf] in the      |Act or coming into existence         |

|State, whether in existence at the  |thereafter] to which the report      |

|commencement of this Act or coming  |relates, and] containing such        |

|into existence thereafter, to which |particulars as may be prescribed.    |

|the report relates, and containing  |                                     |

|such other particulars as may be    |                                     |

|prescribed.                         |                                     |

|                                    |                                     |

|[(3) The revenue authorities shall –|                                     |

|                                    |                                     |

|(i) include the list of auqaf       |                                     |

|referred to in sub-section (2),     |                                     |

|while updating the land records: and|                                     |

|(ii) take into consideration the    |                                     |

|list of auqaf referred to in        |                                     |

|sub-section (2), while deciding     |                                     |

|mutation in the land records.]      |                                     |

|                                    |                                     |

|[(4) The State Government shall     |                                     |

|maintain a record of the lists      |                                     |

|published under sub-section (2) from|                                     |

|time to time.]                      |                                     |

|6.  Disputes regarding [auqaf]. –   |6.  Disputes regarding wakfs. –      |

|                                    |                                     |

|(1) If any question arises whether a|(1) If any question arises [whether a|

|particular properly specified a     |particular property specified as wakf|

|[waqf] property in the list of      |property in a list of wakfs published|

|[auqaf] is [waqf] properly or not or|under sub-section (2) of Section 5 is|

|whether a [waqf] specified in such  |wakf property or not whether a wakf  |

|list is a Shia [waqf] or Sunni      |specified in such list is a Shia wakf|

|[waqf], the Board or the mutawalli  |or sunni wakf] the Board of the      |

|of the [waqf] of [any person        |mutawalli of the wakf or any person  |

|aggrieved] may institute a suit in a|interested therein may institute a   |

|Tribunal for the decision of the    |suit in a civil court of competent   |

|question and the decision of the    |jurisdiction for the decision of the |

|Tribunal in respect of such matter  |question and the decision of the     |

|shall be final:                     |civil court in respect of such matter|

|Provided that no such suit shall be |shall be final:                      |

|entertained by the Tribunal after   |Provided that no such suit shall be  |

|the expiry of one year from the date|entertained by the Civil court after |

|of the publication of the list of   |the expiry of one year from the date |

|[auqaf]:                            |of the publication of the list of    |

|[Provided further that no suit shall|wakfs under sub-section (2) of       |

|be instituted before the Tribunal in|Section 5:                           |

|respect of such properties notified |[Provided further that in the case of|

|in a second or subsequent survey    |the list of wakfs relating to any    |

|pursuant to the provisions contained|part of the State and published or   |

|in sub-section (6) of section 4.]   |purporting to have been published    |

|                                    |before the commencement of the Wakf  |

|                                    |(Amendment) Act, 1969 (38 of 1969,   |

|                                    |such suit may be entertained by the  |

|                                    |Civil Court within the period of one |

|                                    |year from such commencement.]        |

|                                    |                                     |

|                                    |(2)……..                              |

|(2)…….                              |                                     |

|                                    |(3) ……….                             |

|(3) ……..                            |                                     |

|                                    |(4)  The list of wakfs published     |

|(4) The list of [auqaf] shall,      |under sub-section (2) of Section 5   |

|unless it is modified in pursuance  |shall, unless it is modified in      |

|of a decision or the Tribunal under |pursuance of a decision of the Civil |

|sub-section (1), be final and       |Court under sub-section (1), be final|

|conclusive.                         |and conclusive.                      |

|                                    |                                     |

|                                    |(5)  On and from the commencement of |

|(5) On and from the commencement of |the Wakf (Amendment) Act, 1984 in a  |

|this Act in a State, no suit or     |State, no suit or other legal        |

|other legal proceeding shall be     |proceeding shall be instituted or    |

|instituted or commenced in a court  |commenced in a Civil Court in that   |

|in that state in relation to any    |State in relation to any question    |

|question referred to in sub-section |referred in sub-section (1).]        |

|(1).                                |                                     |

|                                    |                                     |

|                                    |                                     |

|7.  Power of Tribunal to determine  |6-A.   Power of Tribunal to determine|

|disputes regarding [auqaf]          |disputes regarding wakfs             |

|                                    |                                     |

|(1) If, after the commencement of   |(1) If, after the commencement of the|

|this Act, [any question or dispute] |Wakf (Amendment) Act, 1984, any      |

|arises, whether a particular        |question arises whether a particular |

|property specified as [waqf]        |property specified as wakf property  |

|property in a list of [auqaf] is    |in a list of wakfs published under   |

|[waqf] property or not, or whether a|sub-section (2) of the Section 5 is  |

|[waqf] specified in such list is a  |wakf property or not, or whether a   |

|Shia [waqf] or a Sunni [waqf], the  |wakf specified in such list is a Shia|

|Board or the mutawalli of the       |wakf or a Sunni wakf, the Board or   |

|[waqf], or [or any person aggrieved |the mutawalli of the wakf, or any    |

|by the publication of the list of   |person interested therein, may apply |

|auqaf under section 5] therein, may |to the Tribunal having jurisdiction  |

|apply to the Tribunal having        |in relation to such property, for the|

|jurisdiction in relation to such    |decision of the question and the     |

|property, for the decision of the   |decision of the Tribunal in respect  |

|question and the decision of the    |of such matter shall be final:       |

|Tribunal thereon shall be final:    |Provided that –                      |

|Provided that –                     |                                     |

|                                    |(a) in the case of the list of wakfs |

|                                    |relating to any part of the State and|

|(a) in the case of the list of      |published or purporting to have been |

|[auqaf] relating to any part of the |published after the commencement of  |

|State and published after the       |the Wakf (Amendment) Act, 1984, no   |

|commencement of this Act no such    |such application shall be entertained|

|application shall be entertained    |after the expiry of one year from the|

|after the expiry of one year from   |date of publication of the list of   |

|the date of publication of the list |wakfs under sub-section (2) and      |

|[auqaf]; and                        |Section 5; and                       |

|                                    |                                     |

|                                    |                                     |

|                                    |(b) in the case of the list of wakfs |

|                                    |relating to any part of the State and|

|                                    |published or purporting to have been |

|(b) in the case of the list [auqaf] |published at any time within a period|

|relating to any part of the State   |of one year immediately preceding the|

|and published at any time within a  |commencement of the Wakf (Amendment) |

|period of one year immediately      |Act, 1984, such an application may be|

|preceding the commencement of this  |entertained by the Tribunal within   |

|Act, such an application may be     |the period of one year from such     |

|entertained by Tribunal within the  |commencement:                        |

|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, |

|Provided further that where any such|the Tribunal shall not re-open such  |

|question has been heard and finally |question.                            |

|decided by a civil court in a suit  |                                     |

|instituted before such commencement,|                                     |

|the Tribunal shall not re-open such |                                     |

|question.                           |                                     |

12.   A bare reading of the  afore-quoted  provisions  (relevant  provisions

for the purpose of this matter) contained in 1954 Act and  1995  Act,  makes

it manifestly clear that the provisions, which are relevant  for  this  case

are almost parimateria with each other.

13.   Section 4 of 1954 Act, empowered the State  Government  to  appoint  a

State  Commissioner,  and  as   many   Additional   and   Assistant   Survey

Commissioners of Wakf  as  may  be  necessary,  by  a  notification  in  the

Official Gazette for  the  purpose  of  making  survey  of  wakf  properties

existing within the State.  The Survey Commissioner after  making  a  survey

of  wakf  properties  would  submit  his  report  to  the  State  Government

containing various particulars as mentioned in sub-sections (3) and  (4)  of

Section 4 of  the Act.  Section 5 of 1954 Act mandated that  on  receipt  of

such report from Survey Commissioner made under sub-section (3)  of  Section

4, the State Government should forward a  copy  of  the  same  to  the  Wakf

Board. The Wakf Board would examine the report forwarded to it  and  publish

in Official Gazette, the list of Wakfs  in  the  State.  For  resolving  the

disputes regarding Wakfs, Section 6 of  1954  Act,  provided  jurisdictional

Civil Court as a forum and decision  of  Civil  Court  in  respect  of  such

matters should be final. It was also clarified that no such suit  should  be

entertained by the Civil Court, after the expiry of one year from  the  date

of publication of the list of Wakfs as per sub-section  (2)  of  Section  5.

Sub-section (4) of Section 6 stated that the list of Wakfs  published  under

sub-section (2) of Section 5 shall be final and conclusive unless such  list

is modified on the direction of the Civil Court.

14.   The provisions found in Sections 5 and 6 of Wakf Act 1995 and  Act  of

1954 are almost akin to each other.  However the change brought  in  by  the

Parliament under 1995 Act is that, in the case of dispute  regarding  Wakfs,

the aggrieved party needs to approach the Wakf  Tribunal  constituted  under

Section 83 of the Waqf Act 1995 and consequently  the  jurisdiction  of  the

Civil  Court  is  taken  away.   Except  the  aforesaid  change,  no   other

substantial modification is found in those provisions.  Section  7  of  1995

Act empowers the Tribunal to determine the disputes, regarding  Auqaf/Wakfs,

the particulars of which are specified therein.

15.   Section 6 and Section 7 of Waqf Act  1995  bars  jurisdiction  of  the

Civil Court to try the civil  suit  in  respect  of  questions  specifically

enumerated under those provisions. Section 85  of  Waqf  Act,  1995  further

clarifies that no suit or other legal proceeding  shall  lie  in  any  civil

court, revenue court and any other authority  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.

16.   The overall view of the aforementioned provisions  contained  in  Wakf

Act, 1954 and Waqf Act 1995 make it evident that even under 1954 Act, as  in

1995 Act, the Survey Commissioners were appointed for the purpose of  making

survey of wakfs in  State.   The  Survey  Commissioner  was  duty  bound  to

conduct the survey of wakfs in the State and after making such  enquiry,  as

he might consider necessary, would submit his report  in  respect  of  Wakfs

existing in the State to the State Government  with  necessary  particulars.

Copy of the said report would be forwarded by the State to  the  Wakf  Board

which in turn would examine the report by applying its mind  and  thereafter

would publish the notification.  Whereas under  1995  Act,  the  Wakf  Board

after examining the report forwards it back to Government  within  a  period

of 6 months for publication in the Official Gazette in the State.   Pursuant

thereto the  State  will  publish  the  Gazette  notification.  The  revenue

authorities will consequently include the list  of  Auqaf  properties  while

updating the revenue records under sub-section (3)  of  Section  5  of  1995

Act.

17.   Thus it is amply clear that the conducting of  survey  by  the  Survey

Commissioner and preparing a report and forwarding the same to the State  or

the Wakf Board precedes  the  final  act  of  notifying  such  list  in  the

official gazette by the State under 1995 Act, (it was  by  the  Board  under

1954 Act). As mentioned supra, the list would  be  prepared  by  the  Survey

Commissioner after making due enquiry and after  valid  survey  as  well  as

after due application of mind.  The enquiry contemplated  under  sub-section

(3) of Section 4 is not merely an informal enquiry but a formal  enquiry  to

find out at the grass root level, as to  whether  the  property  is  a  Wakf

Property or not.  Thereafter the Wakf Board  will  once  again  examine  the

list sent to it with due application of it’s mind and  only  thereafter  the

same will be sent to Government for  notifying  the  same  in  the  Gazette.

Since the list  is  prepared  and  published  in  the  official  Gazette  by

following aforementioned procedure, there is no scope for the  plaintiff  to

get the matter reopened by  generating  some  sort  of  doubt  about  Survey

Commissioner’s report. Since  the  surveyor’s  report  was  required  to  be

considered by the State Government as well as Wakf Board (as  the  case  may

be), prior to finalisation of the list of properties to be published in  the

Official Gazette, it was not open for the High Court to  conclude  that  the

Surveyor’s report will have to be reconsidered. On the  contrary  Surveyor’s

report merges with the Gazette Notification published  under  Section  5  of

the Wakf Act.

18.  As held by the Tribunal as well as the High  Court,  the  property  in

question does not find place in the  Gazette  notification  published  under

Section 5 of the Wakf Act.  In other words, the property in question is  not

notified in the official Gazette as Wakf  property.   If  anybody  including

the Wakf Board or the plaintiff was aggrieved by such non-inclusion  of  the

property in the list notified, the aggrieved person should have  raised  the

dispute under Section 6 within a  period  of  one  year  from  the  date  of

publication of the Gazette notification in the  matter.  The  plaintiff  has

practically questioned the non-inclusion of the property  in  the  list  and

the validity of the list notified in the official gazette  dated  28.06.1962

after the lapse of about 50 years, i.e. in  the  year  2013  by  filing  the

present suit.

19.   As per Section 27 of 1954 Act (Section 40 of 1995 Act), the Board  may

itself collect information regarding any property which  it  has  reason  to

believe to be wakf property and if any question arises whether a  particular

property is wakf property or not the Board after making such enquiry  as  it

deems fit, decide the question. The decision of the Board  on  any  question

under sub-section (1) of Section 27 of 1954 Act (or under Section  40(1)  of

1995 Act) shall, unless revoked or modified by the Civil  Court,  be  final.

The effect of Section 27 of 1954 Act or Section 40 of 1995 Act is  that,  if

any property had been omitted to  be  included  in  the  list  of  auqaf  by

inadvertence or otherwise,  then it  was/is  for  the  Wakf  Board  to  take

action, as per said provision. In this context, it is relevant to  note  the

observations by this Court in the case of T.N.Wakf Board vs.  Hathija  Ammal

[1] which read thus:

“In the event, any property has been omitted by inadvertence  or  otherwise,

then it is for the Wakf Board to take action as provided  under  Section  27

of the Act. If the Wakf Board  has  reason  to  believe  that  a  particular

property is a wakf property then it can itself collect  information  and  if

any question arises whether a particular property  is  a  wakf  property  or

not, it may, after making such  enquiry  as  it  may  deem  fit  decide  the

question and such decision of the Wakf Board shall be final  unless  revoked

or modified by a civil court. Such action has not been  taken  by  the  Wakf

Board in this case.”

20.   Sub-section (1A) of Section 4 is inserted by Act  27  of  2013  w.e.f.

1.11.2013 and the same reads thus:

            “(1A) Every State Government shall  maintain  a  list  of  auqaf

referred to in sub-section (1) and the survey of auqaf  shall  be  completed

within a period of one year from  the  date  of  commencement  of  the  Wakf

(Amendment) Act,  2013,  in  case  such  survey  was  not  done  before  the

commencement of the Wakf (Amendment) Act, 2013:

            Provided that where no Survey  Commissioner  of  Waqf  has  been

appointed a Survey Commissioner for auqaf shall be  appointed  within  three

months from the date of such commencement.”

21.   In the matter on hand, the said provision also will not  come  to  the

aid of the plaintiff inasmuch as the said sub-section can be  employed  only

if survey of auqaf was not done before the commencement of Wakf  (Amendment)

Act, 2013. Admittedly in the matter on hand, the survey was conducted  prior

to    1962 and based on such Surveyor’s report only, the list  was  prepared

and the  same  was  submitted  to  State  Government,  which  in  turn,  was

forwarded  to  Wakf  Board,  the  Wakf  Board  after  examining  the  report

published the list in the official gazette in the  year  1962.  Hence,  sub-

section (1A) of Section 4 also will be of no avail to the plaintiff.

22.   In the matter on hand, as mentioned supra, the Tribunal and  the  High

Court, on facts have held that the property in question is not  included  in

the list published in the Official Gazette as a  wakf  property.  Such  non-

inclusion was never questioned by any person including the Wakf  Board.  The

Board has not exercised jurisdiction  under  Section  27  of  1954  Act  and

Section 40 of 1995 Act, though 50 years have elapsed from the  date  of  the

gazette notification. Hence, in our considered  opinion,  the  averments  in

the plaint do not disclose the cause of action  for  filing  the  suit.  The

suit is manifestly meritless and vexatious. So also the suit  is  barred  by

law for the reasons mentioned supra.

23. In view of the above, the Order of the High Court is liable to be  set

aside.  Accordingly, the same stands  set  aside.  Appeal  is  allowed.  The

order of the Wakf Tribunal is restored. No costs.

…..…………………………….J.

(R.K.Agrawal)

…..……………………………J.

(Mohan   M.   Shantanagoudar)

New Delhi,

Dated: April 19, 2017

———————–

[1]

[2] (2001) 8 SCC 528

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