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Ayodhya: PIL in Supreme Court seeks appointment of government-nominated members as part of Trust to oversee construction of Mosque

The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Trust to be set up by the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board must also seat government-nominated trustees to ensure there is no malpractice, or misutilization of funds, the PIL says.

Shruti Mahajan

A PIL has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking a direction to nominate members of the Central and Uttar Pradesh governments who belong to the Sunni Muslim community to the Trust that will oversee the construction of a Mosque on the land allotted at Ayodhya.

The petition filed by Advocates Shishir Chaturvedi and Karunesh Shukla says that in the interest of public order and tranquility, it is pertinent to ensure that there are no malpractices, misappropriation or misutilization of funds or property as regards the five-acre land allotted by the UP government for the construction of the Mosque.

While the Centre has set up the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust for the purpose of constructing the Ram temple at the site, there is no provision for nomination of government-nominated members to be part of the Trust that will oversee the construction of the Mosque, the plea claims.

"...the Central Government while establishing “Sri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust” has provided that there will be one nominee of the Central Government and State Government each and District magistrate will be Ex-officio member. The representation of 3 members of the Government out of 15 members of the trust is sufficient to have proper control on the functioning of the Trust..."

The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board has declared that it will set up the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Trust that proposes to build a Mosque. A cultural and research centre and other public utility facilities such as a community kitchen, a hospital and a library, are also in the pipeline.

These facilities and establishments are likely to draw hundreds of visitors on a daily basis once the construction is complete, the plea contemplates. It adds that government authorities need to know of the proper management of the funds with respect to these plans. The petition states,

"It is the desire of every Indian that there should be peace and tranquillity in Ayodhya and that there should be proper management of the funds and the property vested in the Islamic trust."

Once the facilities are open, they are likely to receive donations and funds from both, India and abroad. To ensure that there are no malpractices or misappropriation, the petitioners pray for the presence of government-nominated trustees to be part of the Trust that will be set up by the Waqf board. It is stated,

"It is in public interest that the Central Government and the State Government may have all relevant information about the working of the trust to maintain public order and to ensure that no malpractices take place and the funds are not mis-utilised or misappropriated by any trust."

The petition is drawn by Advocate Hari Shankar Jain.

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