LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court asked the Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday under which authority of law it appointed an administrator in the Shia Waqf Board.
The Lucknow bench of the court further asked the government when would it initiate the process of election to constitute the board.
The court also directed a special secretary-level officer to appear before it on March 25 to assist it in the matter.
A division bench of justices DK Upadhyaya and Manish Kumar passed the order on a writ petition moved by Asad Ali Khan.
The petitioner's lawyer, Abhinab Singh, pleaded that there was no provision under the Waqf Act, 1955 and the rules framed under it for the appointment of an administrator in the board, in case the elections could not be held on time.
In the course of the hearing, the bench found out that the last election of the board was held on May 19, 2015 for a term of five years and the term of the elected body expired on May 19, 2020.
Subsequently, the elections to constitute a new body could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government appointed an administrator on March 16 to look after the affairs of the board, but was reluctant to start the election process for no obvious reason, the petitioner said.