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SC Halts Waqf Board Investigation into Mumbai Musafirkhana Trust

Tribunal to continue hearing case as Waqf Board promises to withdraw land claims in Haji Ismail Haji Habib Musafirkhana Trust case

Team Clarion

MUMBAI – The Supreme Court of India has directed the Waqf Board to cease its investigation into the Haji Ismail Haji Habib Musafirkhana Trust case, noting that the matter was still under consideration in the tribunal.

The apex court on May 16 instructed the Waqf Board to reclaim the land it had submitted to the Waqf Tribunal.

Responding to the directive, the Waqf Board confirmed its position stating that it would withdraw its claims on land plots numbering 59 and 21, and 75/2019.

The case emerged as part of a larger redevelopment initiative by the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT), which had purchased the property for ₹1 crore as part of a cluster redevelopment project. SBUT had obtained a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Charity Commissioner for the transaction.

During the hearing, the Supreme Court overturned an earlier ruling by the Bombay High Court and mandated the Waqf Board to decide within 12 weeks whether the property in question qualifies as waqf property. The court emphasised the necessity of considering the residents’ perspectives and allowed interested parties, including petitioner Abdul Razzaq, to intervene.

A critical aspect of this case is the Waqf Board’s acknowledgment that the property is indeed waqf land. This recognition raises significant questions about the nature of the subsequent hearings.

The Haji Ismail Haji Habib Musafirkhana Trust, situated on Pakmodia Street in Bhindi Bazar, was dedicated to the community by Haji Ismail, son of Haji Habib, in 1939, in honour of his late daughter, Zainab bint Abdul Wahid.

In 1944, the structure was registered as a Muslim waqf property with the Waqf Board and reaffirmed in 2019. The property was sold despite this registration, sparking the current legal proceedings.

“The decision of the Supreme Court brings hope that the true nature of the property will be upheld and that justice will be served to our community,” a resident involved in the case said.

All eyes are on the Waqf Board’s forthcoming decision and its implications for the residents and the redevelopment project.

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