NEW DELHI: The Union government has sought three months time in Delhi High Court to file its response to a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay challenging validity of various provisions of the Waqf Act, saying it was required to hold discussion with States and others to take a clear and considered decision in view of over 100 such pleas pending before various courts.
It also said nearly 120 writ petitions challenging one or more provisions of the Waqf Act 1995, are pending before various courts.
"Keeping in view the multiple petitions challenging various sections of the Waqf Act, 1995, it is essential for the Respondents / Applicants to ensure that a clear and consistent view is taken. This involves thorough examination of petitions, consultation/vetting by Government counsels and discussions with other stakeholders, such as State Governments," it said.
The government also submitted that Counter affidavits in most of the cases have not yet been filed.
It also pointed out a transfer petition has also been filed in the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, hearing plea by Upadhyay and others, a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Datta asked the government counsel to seek instructions for consolidation and transfer of all the matters to the Supreme Court.
Upadhyay challenged the validity of provisions of Waqf Act 1995, which is "made under the garb of managing waqf properties but there are no similar laws for followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Judaism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity. Hence, it is against the secularism, unity and integrity of the nation".
He also said the Waqf is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution.
"However, if the Act is enacted to secure fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 25-26, then it must be in consonance with the Articles 14-15 of the Constitution.... If the impugned Act has been made to protect the rights guaranteed under Articles 29-30 then it has to cover all the minorities i.e., followers of Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and not only Islam," it said.