September 30, 2022

The act that regulates the administration of Khawaja Moin-ud-din Chishti Dargah

Khawaja Moin-ud-din Chishti is considered one the greatest Sufi saint of the world and his Dargah at Ajmer, generally known as Dargah Khawaja Sahib, is one of the most followed Dargah in India. This Dargah has followers all over the world.

Thus, to ensure the proper management and administration of Dargah Khawaja Sahib and endowment of the Dargah, ‘The Durgah Khawaja Saheb Act, 1955’ was passed by Indian Parliament.   

This act overrides the provisions of The Religious Endowment Act, 1863. In other words, the provisions of religious endowment act do not apply to the administration of Dargah.[1]

This act further repeals ‘The Durgah Khawaja, Saheb Act, 1936 and the Durgah Khawaja Saheb (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1950.[2]

The Durgah Committee Ajmer

Section 4 provides the constitution of a Durgah Committee for the administration, control and management of the Durgah Endowment.

Meaning of Durgah Endowment

“Durgah Endowment” includes—

  • the Durgah Khawaja Saheb, Ajmer;
  • all buildings and movable property within the boundaries of the Durgah Sharif;
  • Durgah Jagir, including all land, houses and shops and all immovable property wherever situated belonging to the Durgah Sharif;
  • all other property and all income derived from any source whatsoever dedicated to the Durgah or placed for any religious, pious or charitable purposes under the Durgah Administration, including the Jagirdari villages of Hokran and Kishanpur in Ajmer; and
  • all such nazars of offerings as are received on behalf of the Durgah by the Nazim[3] or any person authorised by him;[4]

Composition of Committee.

The committee should have only minimum five and maximum nine members. These all members shall be Hanafi[5] Muslims and shall be appointed by the Central Government.

Term of the office

A member of the Committee shall hold office for a period of five years from the date of his appointment but may resign his office earlier by giving notice in writing to the Central Government and shall cease to be a member on the resignation being accepted by that Government.[6]

Supersession of the Committee.

If in the opinion of the Central Government the Committee is guilty of gross mismanagement of the affairs of the Durgah or of neglect in the performance of its functions, the Central Government may supersede the Committee and entrust any person with full powers of the Committee until a new Committee is constituted in accordance with the provisions of this Act.[7]

Powers and duties of the Committee.

The powers and duties of the Committee shall be—

(a) to administer, control and manage the Durgah Endowment;

(b) to keep the buildings within the boundaries of the Durgah Sharif and all buildings, houses and shops comprised in the Durgah Endowment in proper order and in a state of good repair;

(c) to receive all moneys and other income of the Durgah Endowment;

(d) to see that the Endowment funds are spent in the manner desired by the donors;

(e) to pay salaries, allowances and perquisites and make all other payments due out of, or charged on, the revenues or income of the Durgah Endowment.

(f) to determine the privileges of the Khadims and to regulate their presence in the Durgah by the grant to them of licences in that behalf, if the Committee thinks it necessary so to do;

(g) to define the powers and duties of the Advisory Committee;

(h) to determine the functions and powers, if any, which the Sajjadanashin may exercise in relation to the Durgah;

(i) to appoint, suspend or dismiss servants of the Durgah Endowment;

(j) to make such provision for the education and maintenance of the indigent descendants of Khawaja Moin-ud-din Chishti and their families and the indigent Khadims and their families residing in India as the Committee considers expedient consistently with the financial position of the Durgah;

(k) to delegate to the Nazim such powers and functions as the Committee may think fit; (l) to do all other such things as may be incidental or conducive to the efficient administration of the Durgah.[8]

The committee shall, in exercise of its powers and the discharge of its duties, follow the rules of Muslim Law applicable to Hanafi Muslims in India, and shall conduct and regulate the established rites and ceremonies in accordance with the tenets of the Chishti Saint.[9]

Enforcement of final orders of Committee

Where in the exercise of its powers and performance of its duties the Committee passes any final order against any person directing him to do, or to abstain from doing something, the person against whom the order is directed shall be bound to comply with the order and

in case of non-compliance with such order any civil court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the person against whom the order has been passed, resides or carries on business may execute the order in the same manner and by the same procedure as if it were a decree or order passed by itself in a suit.

The appointment of Nazim

The central Government may appoint a Nazim after consultation with the committee. And the Nazim shall be ex-officio secretary of the committee.

The Nazim shall be paid such salary and allowances as the Central Government may fix out of the revenues of the Durgah Endowment.

The Committee shall exercise its powers of administration, control and management of the Durgah Endowment through the Nazim.[10]

Advisory Committee

To advise the Nazim in the discharge of this function, the central government has the authority to constitute an advisory committee consisting not more than seven members, being Hanafi Muslims and chosen from among the residents of the State of Ajmer or any of the neighbouring.[11]

The office of Sajjadanashin

The post of Sajjadanashin is very important in any Durgah. Generally, this is the person who is descendent to the Sufi saint whose majar that is. Because, these persons are successors, so, there may be many who can claim the post the Sajjadanashin. A Sajjadanashin is that person who receive the offering from Jayreen[12] and let them Jiyarat[13].

Succession to the office of Sajjadanashin.[14]

As soon as the office of the Sajjadanashin falls vacant, the Committee shall, with the previous approval of the Chief Commissioner, make interim arrangements for the performance of the functions of the Sajjadanashin, and

immediately thereafter publish a notice, inviting applications within one month of such publication from persons claiming to succeed to that office.

Where only one person claims to succeed to the office of the Sajjadanashin and the Committee is satisfied as to his right to succeed, it shall, with the previous approval of the Chief Commissioner, pass an order in writing according recognition as Sajjadanashin to such person.

Where more persons than one claim to succeed to the office of the Sajjadanashin, the Committee shall, after consultation with the Chief Commissioner, refer the dispute to the Judicial Commissioner of Ajmer for a decision regarding the claim to succeed to that office, and the Judicial Commissioner, after taking such evidence as he considers necessary and after giving an opportunity to the claimants to be heard in respect of their claims, shall communicate his decision to the Committee.

The Committee, on the receipt of the decision, shall, with the previous approval of the Chief Commissioner, pass an order in writing in accordance with such decision declaring the person found entitled to succeed to the office of the Sajjadanashin and according recognition as Sajjadanashin to such person.

An order passed by the Committee shall be final and shall not be questioned in any court.

REFERENCE

The durgah khawaja saheb act, 1955


[1] Section 3

[2] Section 22

[3] Nazim means the person who is in charge of ‘Nizam’ (administration)

[4] Section 2(d)

[5] Hanafi Muslims are those Muslims who follow Imam Abu Hanifa’s interpretation of Quran

[6] Section 6

[7] Section 8

[8] Section 11

[9] Section 15

[10] Section 9

[11] Section 10

[12] Jayreen literally means those people who come to see.

[13] Pilgrimage and literally means to see

[14] Section 13