Community News

Appointment of Ajmer Dargah administrator stayed by High Court

New Delhi: The term of Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Dargah’s Nazim (administrator) had expired some time in October 2010 after which the Dargah’s managing committee in its meeting unanimously decided that in view of the excellent services of the present Nazim Ahmad Raza, recommendation for a two year extension of his service may be made to Union ministry for minorities affairs, under which the Dargah is functioning. However, inspite of this recommendation of Dargah Committee, the ministry ignored it and also in violation of all rules and regulations appointed its own deputy secretary, M.A. Imam and told the managing committee that if his work was found satisfactory after three months, he will be made permanent. In this way Ahmad Raza was asked to retire on 31 January 2011.

After his appointment as Nazim of the Dargah, the very next day he (Imam) issued a circular saying that he is going to Delhi for some work and in his absence his P.A. will officiate for him as Nazim. Other members of the Dargah Committee could not dare say any thing against M.A. Imam and his appointment by the ministry in violation of all rules and regulations, but the founder of Hazrat Sheikh Saleem Chishti Foundation, Sahebzada Arshad Faridi who is also a noted journalist, could not tolerate the whimsical action of the minority affairs ministry and filed a petition in Delhi High Court, challenging wilful action of the ministry in appointing Imam as Nazim of the Dargah in violation of all rules, particularly of Dargah of Khwaja Saheb Act, 1957. According to this Act, there will be a managing committee to run and manage the affairs of the Dargah whose CEO and secretary will be known as Nazim. For the appointment of CEO or Nazim the minorities affairs ministry, under section 9 (1) of this Act will advertise for the post of Nazim in newspapers, send the applications and bio-data of the applicants to the managing committee and thereafter, the Nazim will be selected after mutual consultation of all concerned.

It was stated in the petition that the appointment of Nazim in clear violation of the provisions of this Act is illegal. Sahebzada Arshad Faridi’s lawyer Saood Ahmad said that the Dargah has properties worth billions of rupees and vesting its administration in the hands of a clerk is highly improper. He also said that members of the managing committee do not have the courage to oppose the ministry’s illegal appointment for fear of being shunted out. He further said that ignoring the unanimous recommendation of the committee in giving an extension to Ahmad Raza and imposing a person of its own choice by the ministry is clearly against the rules. When the ministry’s lawyer Sunil Kumar said in the Court that Imam’s appointment is only temporary, the Court admonished him and asked who gave the ministry the power to appoint the Nazim in violation of the Act. It also expressed its displeasure over vesting the administration of Dargah’s properties and assets worth billions of rupees in the hands of a clerk.

The High Court issued a notice to the ministry of minorities affairs and asked it to desist from taking any further action in the affairs of the Dargah till the final verdict of the Court.