Skip to content


Mohammad Abu Zafar Mohammad Ibrahim Vs. Israr Ahmad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 329 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1971All366
ActsMahommedan Law; Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951 - Sections 142, 152 and 199; Constitution of India - Article 44; Tenancy Laws
AppellantMohammad Abu Zafar Mohammad Ibrahim
Respondentisrar Ahmad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateIqbal Ahmad, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.J. Haider, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
(i) trust and societies - waqf - mohammadan law - power of bhumidar - bhumidar of land under u.p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act, 1951 - can make valid waqf of his bhumidari rights in the land. (ii) creation of waqf - necessity - 'waqif' must have a permanent dominion over the subject matter. - - 4. the trial court as well as the first appellate court found against the plaintiff respondent on the question of fraud and undue influence. act as well. god almighty air1962all364 at page 370 a division bench of this court held that it is well settled that a mortgagee cannot create a waqf of mortgaged property......the decree in favour of the plaintiff respondent could not have been passed on that ground. the learned counsel, however, supported the decree on a question of law which arose on facts admitted on the pleadings of the parties and urged that a waqf of bhumidhari right cannot be created in law. a learned single judge, before whom this second appeal was listed, considered the question involved in the second appeal to be important and referred it to a larger bench. this is how the case came before a division bench consisting of hon'ble mr. justice s. n. dwivedi and hon'ble mr. justice hari swarup. on the question of law raised on behalf of the plaintiff respondent the two learned judges have differed and have referred the question referred to above. 6. i have perused the judgments.....
Judgment:

S.N. Singh, J.

1. This case has come before me for opinion on a difference between brethren S. N. Dwivedi and Hari Swarup on a question of law. The question referred for opinion is:--

'Whether a person who is a bhumi-dhar of land under the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act can make a valid waqf of his bhumidhari rights in the land?'

This question has arisen in a second appeal which arises out of a suit filed by the plaintiff respondent for the cancellation of a waqf deed dated February 20. 1955, executed by his father, Mohd. Asad-ullah.

2. The waqf deed relates to a 1/4th share in the Bhumidhari land which constituted an intermediary's grove before the abolition of the zamindari. The admitted facts of the case are that the mother of the plaintiff respondent was the proprietor of the aforesaid land. She died before the date of vesting and her 1/4thshare in the proprietary right was inherited by her husband. Mohd. Asadullah and the plaintiff respondent inherited 3/4th share of hers. On the passing of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act (hereinafter referred to as the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act) the plaintiff respondent and his father Mohd. Asadullah became Bhumidhars of the land in dispute by virtue of Section 18 of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act. The father of the plaintiff respondent executed a waqf deed impugned in the suit on February 20. 1955 for the maintenance of a mosque and appointed the defendant appellant as Mutwalli of the waqf. Mohd. Asadullah. father of the plaintiff respondent died on 8th of September 1955 and on his death the suit giving rise to the second appeal was instituted.

3. The validity of the waqf deed was challenged on two grounds. It was firstly alleged that the waqf of an undivided share in favour of a mosque of a property which was capable of division is invalid according to the Mohammadan law. Secondly, it was asserted that the waqf deed is vitiated on account of fraud and undue influence.

4. The trial court as well as the first appellate court found against the plaintiff respondent on the question of fraud and undue influence. The trial court was of the opinion that the waaf of an undivided share in the property capable of division for the maintenance of a mosque was not invalid. The lower appellate court, however, took a contrary view on this question and decreed the suit of the plaintiff respondent. A second appeal was filed against the decision of the lower appellate court decreeing the plaintiff respondent's suit.

5. In second appeal it appears that it was conceded by the counsel for the plaintiff respondent that a waqf of an undivided share of the property for the maintenance of the waqt is not invalid and the decree in favour of the plaintiff respondent could not have been passed on that ground. The learned counsel, however, supported the decree on a question of law which arose on facts admitted on the pleadings of the parties and urged that a waqf of Bhumidhari right cannot be created in law. A learned single Judge, before whom this second appeal was listed, considered the question involved in the second appeal to be important and referred it to a larger Bench. This is how the case came before a Division Bench consisting of Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. N. Dwivedi and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Hari Swarup. On the question of law raised on behalf of the plaintiff respondent the two learned Judges have differed and have referred the question referred to above.

6. I have perused the judgments prepared by the two learned Judges and have also heard the learned counsel for the parties in support of their respective contentions. I respectfully agree with the views expressed by brother Dwivedi on the question of law which arises for determination in the second appeal, and propose to give my reasons in support of my views.

7. Waqf 'signifies the dedication or consecration of property, either in express terms or by implication, for any charitable or religious object, or to secure any benefit to human beings.' (See Syed Ameer Ali's Mohammedan Law Fourth Edition page 194). A Division Bench of this Court in Mohammad Sabir Ali v. Tahir Ali : AIR1957All94 at page 103 held that 'wakfs are gifts to God Almighty and are permissible to be made under the Oudh Estates Act provided they do not contravene the provisions of Section 12 of the Act and provided further that they are in the form mentioned in Section 18 of the Act.' Section 12 of the Oudh Estates Act is almost in the same terms as Section 14 of the Transfer of Property Act. It was also held in this case that a transfer inter vivos within the meaning of the Transfer of Property Act and the Oudh Estates Act is not confined to transfers taking place between one living human being and another living human being. It was opined that the phrase 'living persons' within the meaning of these Acts simply meant an entity which has a personality of its own, which exists and which has the capacity of holding property according to law. This decision of the Division Bench was upheld by the Supreme Court in Mohd. Ismail v. Sabir Ali : [1963]1SCR20 .

8. In Ahmad Husain v. Kallu Mian Sajhi Firm : AIR1929All277 it was held that although waqf may be dedication in favour of God, it is still a transfer governed by the Transfer of Property Act as God is a juristic person.

9. Thus from these authorities it is clear that the waqfs are gifts to God and are governed by the Transfer of Property Act. In view of these authorities, it is difficult to accept the contention of the learned counsel for the plaintiff respondent that waqf not being a transfer inter vivos is not governed by the Transfer of Property Act. This being the position, we have to see whether the U, P. Z. A. & L, R. Act permits such a transfer or not.

10. Section 152 of the U. P. Z. A. & L. R. Act makes the interest of a Bhumi-dhar transferable 'subject to the conditions hereinafter contained in this Chapter.' A Bhumidhar thus is capable of gifting his property whether it is to a living person or to a juristic person.There is no prohibition in the entire U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act from making a gift of one's Bhumidhari right in favour of God Almighty. In absence of any prohibition in the Act in view of the clear provisions of S, 152 of the U. P. Z.A. and L. R. Act there does not appear to be any bar to a Bhumidhar creating a waqf of his Bhumidhari right in the land.

11. It is argued on behalf of the plaintiff respondent that the waqf not being a transfer inter vivos, is not governed by the Transfer of Property Act and is governed by the tenets of the Muslim Law. It is further argued that waqf can only be created according to the provisions of the Mohommedan Law. Learned counsel submitted that such a waqf was permissible before the passing of the Constitution in the year 1950. It was submitted that before coming into force of the Constitution, Muslim Law was made applicable by virtue of the Muslim Personal Law, (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 and Section 37 of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act. 1887, but in view of Article 44 of the Constitution it is submitted that the Personal Laws of Hindus and Mohammedans cannot be applied to agricultural land. The learned counsel further submitted that the notions of Hindu Law and Muslim Law should not be imported in interpreting the provisions of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act. Reliance for this submission was made on a Full Bench decision of this Court reported in Ramji Dixit v. Bhrigu Nath : AIR1965All1 , which was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Ramji Dixit v. Bhrigu. Nath : [1968]2SCR767 . The learned counsel also relied on a Division Bench decision of this Court reported in Mahendra Singh v. Attar Singh : AIR1967All488 and Anr. Full Bench of this Court reported in Ram Awalamb v. Jata Shankar : AIR1969All526 .

12. I have considered these submissions of the learned counsel for the plaintiff respondent, but I have not been able to appreciate the relevance of his argument based on Article 44 of the Constitution, Article 44 of the Constitution reads as follows:--

'The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of India.'

What has this provision of law to do with the interpretation of the U. P. Z, A. and L. R. Act. This provision simply states the directive principles of State Policy as to how laws will be made. Our Constitution guarantees religious freedom to all the citizens of India vide Article 25. Every citizen is free to follow his own religion and if in accordance with the tenets of a religion a citizen proposes to transfer his agricultural or non-agricultural propertyfor purposes which are religious, I do not think that there is any bar to his so doing under any provision of the Constitution. It is true that while interpreting the provisions of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act, one has not to be carried away by the notions of the personal law of the party, but this does not mean that transfers of agricultural property cannot be made for religious purposes. The authorities cited by the learned counsel for the plaintiff respondent, in my opinion, are beside the point involved in the present case.

13. In my opinion, even assuming that the Transfer of Property Act, as argued by the learned counsel for the plaintiff respondent, does not apply to transfers which are not inter vivos even then if there is no prohibition in the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act for transferring agricultural land for religious and charitable purporses, why cannot it be transferred in terms of the law applicable to a particular citizen. If under the Mohammedan Law waqf which is a transfer is permitted and similarly if creation of trust or religious endowment or dedication of property to a deity is permissible under the Hindu Law, why can it not be done in respect of the agricultural property. It is true that personal law of the Muslims and Hindus are not the common laws of the country, but these laws have been made applicable by virtue of Section 37 of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act 1887. Sub-section (1) of Section 37 of the Bengal. Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act makes it obligatory on the courts to apply Mohammadan Law in deciding questions regarding succession, inheritance, marriage or caste or any other religious usage or institution to a case where the parties are Mohammedans. Sub-section (2) of Section 37 of the said Act lays down that in cases not provided by Sub-section (1) or by any other law for the time being in force, the court shall act according to the justice, equity and Hood conscience. Thus the entire field of law can be made applicable by virtue of Section. 37 of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act, with regard to agricultural property, rules of Mohammedan law may be applied unless otherwise excluded under Section 37 of the Bengal. Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act. (See Mt. B. B. Maniran v. Mohd. Ishaque : AIR1963Pat229 ). It is not necessary to encumber this judgment with other similar authorities on the point for it is conceded before me that applicability of Hindu law and the Mohammedan law was permissible before the coming into force of the Constitution but it is argued that it is not possible thereafter. It is also argued that the U. P. Z. A. & L. R. Act has made revolutionary changes in the Tenancy Law and it is said that the entire conceptof the Tenancy Law has been changed, as such there is no scope now for the applicability of the principles of Hindu Law or Mohammedan Law to tenure holder's right. I am unable to accept this broad proposition. It is true that great changes have been brought about by the introduction of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act in as much as the intermediaries have been eliminated and greater rights have been conferred on the tillers of the soil, but in other respects the spirit of the Tenancy Law has been maintained. For instance, even before the passing of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act there was uniform Code provided by the Tenancy Laws for succession to tenancies whether a person was a Hindu, Muslim or a Christian. The same has been retained in the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act as well. The rights which have been given to tenure holders, though termed as new rights have been given with reference to the old rights that they possessed under the previous Tenancy Acts. It is conceded before me by Dr. Hyder, learned counsel for the plaintiff-respondent, that before the passing of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act waqf could be created in respect of the proprietary grove, but his contention is that it is not possible after the passing of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act. According to the learned counsel waqif cannot become Bhumidhar of any property and the waqfs in respect of agricultural property which had been created before the passing of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act would be deemed to have come to an end after the passing of the Act.

14. Learned counsel relied on certain observations of brother Hari Swarup in his judgment wherein he opined that 'if the various provisions dealing with the rights of bhumidhars are taken into consideration it would be clear that the land was deemed to be settled under Section 18 U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act with only such persons as are given in Section 5 of the Transfer of Property Act and God or Waqf not being such a person land could not be settled with God. The property can be vested in God by the creation of Waqf only by the process of a religious endowment. State being a secular corporation having no religion cannot settle the land by creating a Waqf thereof in favour of God.' With great respect to my learned brother, I am unable to share the view expressed by him. I respectfully agree with the views expressed in this respect by the Full Bench decision reported in Moattar Baza v. Joint Director of Consolidation : AIR1970All509 wherein it has been held that in the circumstances of that case Bhumidhari rights would accrue In land in favour of God or waqf under Section 18 (1) (a) of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act. We are bound by the decision ofthis Full Bench so long as it stands the field. It cannot be accepted that waqfs executed before the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act came to an end on the passing of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act.

15. It is next argued that even if it is held that waqf could be created after the passing of the U. P. 2. A. and L. R. Act, Bhumidhari right not being the full proprietary right, vesting in the tenure holder absolute ownership, it could not be made subject-matter of waqf. It was contended that for the creation of a valid waqf, absolute ownership in the property is a must. Reliance was placed on a decision of the Supreme Court in Mahendra Lal Jaini v. State of Uttar Pradesh : AIR1963SC1019 wherein it was held that Bhumidhars are mere tenure holders under the State which is the proprietor of all lands in the area to which the U. P. Z, A. and L. R. Act applies. Thus it is argued that Bhumidhars being only tenure holders without proprietary right vesting in them are incapable of creating waqf.

16. In order to test this argument of the learned counsel, we have to examine the relevant original texts and the decided cases on the point.

17. In Baillie's Digest of Moohummudan Law. Second Edition, at page 562 it is mentioned that the subiect of the waqf must belong to the appropriator at the time of making it.

18. The Tyabji's Muhammadan Law, 1940 Edition, at page 579 in Section 477 it is stated that the property dedicated must be owned by and in the possession of the waqif at the time of the dedication.

19. In the Principles of Muhammadan Jurisprudence by Abdur Rahim at page 307 under the head 'property which may be dealt with by waqf it is stated that the property must first of all answer the description of 'mal' or tangible property, as in the case of a gift so that waqf of a mere right to the usufruct such as a rent charge is not allowed.'

20. In Syed Ameer Ali's Mahom-medan Law Fourth Edition at page 267 it is stated that 'where the lease is of a permanent character and the lessee cannot be ejected from the land without process of law, the lessee is entitled to dedicate any building on such land.' The same learned author at page 271 has stated as follows:--

'As regards the wakfs of Jagirs or grants made by Kings and Ameers:--

Jagirs (iktaat) are of two kinds, one where the land has been granted in fee that is, first the sovereign has purchased it from the Bait-ul-mal and presented it to the grantee, or it is a portion of the royal domains; and, where the usufruct is only granted and the Jagir is vested inthe Crown. In the former case, the grantee may make a wakf, in the latter case not'.

21. Haying examined the original texts, the judicial decisions may now be noticed.

22. In Amir Ahmad V. Mohammad Ejaz Hussain : AIR1936All15 . Shree Chief Justice Sulaiman observed as follows :--

'The question raised in appeal is that the Mohammedan law contemplates that the property which is the subject-matter of waaf should be in the full proprietorship of the waqif and anything short of that is not capable of being made a waqf of. This proposition is too broadly state-ed. No doubt the essence of a waqf is its permanent character. Any property which is temporarily or for a limited period or without right in the possession of the waqif cannot be validly dedicated because such a dedication can never be of a permanent character. But it does not follow that the subject-matter of the waqf must necessarily be the full proprietary interest in immovable property.'

23. In Nosh Ali v. Shamsunnesa Bibi : AIR1939All319 head note fb) reads as follows:--

'A Mohammedan widow is not allowed to dedicate a property of which she acquires possession in lieu of dower. Under the Mahomedan Law, the property dedicated must be of a reasonably permanent character and the wakif may make arrangements that the use of and income accruing from the specified property shall be permanently devoted to specified objects. Above all, the wakif must be the owner of the property. Unless the wakif is the owner of the dedicated property, he has no permanent control over the property and a dedication thereof will be invalid under Mahomedan Law.'

24. In Abdul Qavi Khan v. God Almighty : AIR1962All364 at page 370 a Division Bench of this Court held that

'it is well settled that a mortgagee cannot create a waqf of mortgaged property. The sine qua non for the creation of waqf is that the property must be owned by the wakif.'

25. In Mst. Peeran v. Hafiz Mohammad Ishaq : AIR1966All201 head note (b) reads as follows:--

'Under Muhammadan Law every kind of property is capable of being dedicated. What is necessary is that it must admit of yielding permanent benefit. When site upon which the dedicated house stands has been leased for a fixed term, the dedication cannot be said to be of property of a permanent character because upon the expiry of the term of the lease and resumption of the site the house as such cannot continue. It is not possible to conceive of a permanent benefit being derived from it. The waqf of thehouse on the site of the leased property for a fixed term is invalid'.

26. The dictionary meaning of the word 'own' is 'have as property, possessed'. Looking to the dectionary meaning of the word 'own' it can safely be said that a Bhumidhar owns the tenure holders' right in the land, that is, he possesses the land as tenure holder.

27. The right of the Bhumidhar in respect of his Bhumidhari land is stated in Section 142 of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act which reads as follows:--

'A bhumidhar shall, subiect to the provisions of the Act. have the right to the exclusive possession of all land in respect of which he is a bhumidhar and to use it for any purposes whatsoever.'

Section 152 of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act reads:--

'The interest of a bhumidhar shall be transferable subject to the conditions hereinafter contained in this Chapter'.

Section 199 of the U. P. Z. A. and L. R. Act states:--

'No bhumidhar shall be liable to ejectment'.

28. In view of the various sections quoted above it is clear that a Bhumidhar possesses a permanent right in the land possessed and owned by him as a Bhumidhar and he cannot be elected from the land. Thus he possesses all the ingredients entitling him to dedicate the property as waqf. In : AIR1936All15 a dedication of grove-holder's right was considered to be valid dedication although the dedicator had not the absolute ownership in him. The view of law taken by the Chief Justice. Sulaiman in the above mentioned case on the subiect is supported by the opinion expressed by Sved Ameer Ali that 'where the lease is of a permanent character and the leasee cannot be ejected from the land without process of law, the lessee is entitled to dedicate any building on such land' vide Amir Ali's Mahommedan law at page 267. The view taken in this authority has not been dissented from so far and the other authorities which have been referred to above have not taken a contrary view; rather all the decisions of this Court are in line, with the decision in : AIR1936All15 with which I respectfully agree. In this view of the matter it is not correct to say that in order to create a waaf the waqif must have full proprietary interest in the immovable property, the subject-matter of the waqf. What is necessary is that the wakif must have a permanent dominion over the subject-matter of the waqf.

29. In view of the foregoing discussion it is clear that a Bhumidhar is capable of creating a waqf of his Bhumidhari right in the land. Thus neither of the two contentions advanced by thelearned counsel for the respondent can be accepted.

30. My answer to the question referred is in the affirmative. Let the case be laid before the Division Bench with the above opinion for final orders.

BY THE COURT

31. In accordance with the opinion of the third Judge, we allow the appeal and set aside the judgment and decree of the lower appellate court. In the result the suit of the plaintiff-respondent stands dismissed. The appellant shall set his costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //