High Court seeks details of Muslim graveyards in city

The Telangana High Court on Monday sought complete details of graveyards under the control of Wakf Board and the alleged encroachments of their lands by land grabbers.

A bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy also asked the Warkf Board what action can be taken against Muthavalis if the latter deny burial of bodies in graveyards under their respective jurisdictions. The bench was hearing two PIL petitions, one on failure of officials to act against encroachments of Muslim graveyards and the other on a Muthavali’s refusal for burial of the body of a person who reportedly died of an ailment.

The bench also instructed the Minority department to file a report in the two pleas, seeking to know if it had any powers to frame rules and regulations relating to burial of bodies in graveyards. The Minorities department and the Wakf Board were directed to file their reports by August 13.

“Last rites of a person are important and critical,” the bench observed. The bench said that burial of a body is a holy process. It is done by offering prayers and becomes a holy affair. The land where such holy process is carried out cannot be subjected to encroachments, the bench felt. Wakf Board standing counsel Safiullah Baig said presently there were no rules and regulations governing burial of bodies in Muslim graveyards. The CJ asked if the Muthavalis had complete control over the matter and they had any discretionary powers. He wanted to know why no action was being initiated against Muthavalis if they were not allowing burial of bodies.

Mr. Baig informed the bench that Wakf Board was the competent authority to initiate any steps against erring Muthavalis. The bench observed that Minority department should have framed guidelines for burial of bodies.

The bench wanted to know precise details of the number of Muslim graveyards in Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Rangareddy district, the extent of their lands encroached and the action taken against the persons responsible for it.

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