No Waqf Board has authority to expel community from a religion: Smriti Irani amid Ahmadiyya row

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Smriti Irani Parliament

Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani at Parliament complex

New Delhi: Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday said no Waqf Board in the country has the authority to expel a person or a community from a religion, remarks that come amid a row over the Andhra Pradesh Waqf Board passing a resolution describing the Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslims.


Prominent Muslim organisation Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind on Tuesday backed the Andhra Pradesh Waqf Board's stance on the Ahmadiyya community, claiming that this is the "unanimous position" of all Muslims.

Asked about the issue, Irani said, "I only want to say that all Waqf Boards come under the Act of Parliament. No Waqf Board can act contrary to the dignity of Parliament and violate laws made by it. No Waqf Board has permission that it changes a fatwa into a government order."

"No Waqf Board has authority, under the Act of Parliament, that it expels a person or a community from a religion. We have sought a reply from the Andhra Pradesh chief secretary. We have requested him to put the facts before us because the Ahmadiyya Muslim community had appealed to the Minority Affairs Ministry," she told reporters outside Parliament.


The minister said she is awaiting the response of the state chief secretary.

Asked about Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind backing the Andhra Pradesh Waqf Board's stance, Irani said, "No non-state actor has authority to violate an Act of Parliament." With the Andhra Pradesh Waqf Board passing a resolution calling the Ahmadiyya community "kafirs" and non-Muslims, the Minority Affairs Ministry had written a strongly-worded letter to the Andhra Pradesh government, calling the board's resolution a "hate campaign", which "could have ramifications across the country".

"A representation dated 20.7.2023 has been received from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, vide which it has been stated that certain Waqf Boards have been opposing the Ahmadiyya Community and passing illegal resolutions declaring the community to be outside the fold of Islam," said the letter sent to Chief Secretary Andhra Pradesh K S Jawahar Reddy.

"This constitutes a hate campaign against the Ahmadiyya community at large, and the Waqf Board neither has the jurisdiction nor authority to determine religious identity of any community including Ahmadiyyas," the letter reportedly said.