On February 17, 2023, notices were posted outside 123 properties in Delhi by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, saying that these properties were no longer considered Delhi Waqf Board properties. The said properties include mosques, a cemetery and dargahs. Before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress-led UPA government gave these properties to the Delhi Waqf Board. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had raised concerns about the prominent locations of these properties and had approached the court. Two committees were formed to hear the matter, including a 2-member committee and a 1-member committee, comprising a former judge of the Delhi High Court and a retired SDM.
The 2-member committee’s report said that the Delhi Waqf Board had been allowed to present its case but failed to do so within the prescribed time. Consequently, the Board was absolved of all matters relating to these properties.
The committee suggested a physical inspection of the aforementioned properties. Subsequent to this, Amanatullah Khan, an AAP leader, tweeted, “Our Writ Petition No.1961/2022 is pending in the High Court, and we have already raised our voice on 123 Wakf Properties. Some individuals are spreading false information about it; the evidence is in front of all of you.” He further stated, “We will not tolerate any kind of encroachment on the properties of the Waqf Board.” An official letter was sent by the Delhi Waqf Board to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, challenging the establishment of the two-member committee.
Notably, in 2014, the the Congress led UPA government exercised its powers under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013 to denotify these 123 properties from the land acquisition process.
These properties were supposed to be transferred to the Delhi Waqf Board. However, Indraprastha Vishwa Hindu Parishad contested the government’s notification. In the same year, a Delhi court directed the Centre to address the concerns of the stakeholders and come to a resolution.
Two years later, in 2016, the the Narndra Modi government constituted a one-member committee to decide on the issue. One-member committee submitted its report in 2017.
On February 10, 2023, the Delhi High Court observed that the Qabristan Qadeem was undisputedly handed over to the ITBP in 2017.
According to the Indian Express report, “The Waqf Board earlier told the court that they learnt about the transfer of property only in 2017 in a different case. Its application sought stay on any activity at the graveyard”.
In August 2018, the Centre created a two-member committee to make a determination on the destiny of the 123 properties. The Delhi Waqf Board claimed that the one-member committee report was never disclosed and that the Union government arbitrarily formed a two-member committee to reassess the status of the properties.
The Centre defended itself by stating that the one-man committee’s report was inconclusive, and therefore, a two-member committee was formed. However, it declined to share the report with the Delhi Waqf Board.
A public notice was released in November 2021 by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), asking for public representation on the properties that were under dispute.
In March 2022, the Delhi HC refused to grant relief to the Delhi Waqf Board, which had filed a petition against the Centre’s denotification of its 123 properties.