J-K HC quashes govt order to take over madrassas in Kishtwar

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has quashed a government order to take over some madrassas in Kishtwar district, saying an official order issued last year cannot be universally applied to all such institutions in the Union Territory.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar passed a three-page order last week after hearing a petition that challenged a July 3 order of the Kishtwar additional deputy commissioner, directing the management of Charitable Educational Trust to immediately hand over the possession of their madrassas (Islamic seminaries) to the administration.

The petitioners informed the court that the impugned order was violative of the principles of natural justice as no opportunity of being heard was given to them.

Besides, the trust has no links with the Maulana Ali Miyan Educational Trust, Bathindi, the functioning of which was taken over on the orders of the Jammu divisional commissioner on June 14 last year for misusing funds received from foreign NGOs, they said.

The government lawyer confirmed that the madrassas run by the petitioners are different from those of the Maulana Ali Miyan Educational Trust.

However, he submitted that an investigation into illegal funding of these seminaries is an ongoing exercise and the respondents are free to initiate action against any such madrassas found involved in anti-national or anti-social activities and also those not in a position to explain the source of their funding.

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“In view of the above, this petition is allowed by holding that the order of the divisional commissioner, Jammu, is applicable only to the madrassas run by the Maulana Ali Miyan Educational Trust and cannot be universally applied to all madrasas being run legitimately in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir,” the court said, quashing the impugned order of the Kishtwar additional deputy commissioner.

The court also made it clear that in case it comes to the notice of the government during any investigation that the madrassas being run by the petitioners or others are operating in violation of the law, it is free to initiate appropriate action after notifying and providing an adequate opportunity for hearing.

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