BENGALURU: A muthawalli, custodian/manager/administrator of any wakf property, is liable to be removed if he goes abroad and stays there for long without any intimation to the wakf board, the Dharwad bench of the Karnataka high court observed. It upheld the removal of Syed Shah Tayyab Khadri, muthawalli of the ancient Hazrath Masthan Vali Shah Khadri Dargah in Hatcholli village of Siruguppa taluk in Ballari district. “The office of muthawalli occupies a significant position in the wakf jurisprudence, especially when religious functions are concerned. The very nature of the office requires personal presence of the incumbent at the station not only for performing rituals but also administering the institution of wakf and manage its property,” Justice Krishna S Dixit noted in his order.Though his counsel claimed he was away for a short period of one and a half months, Khadri, who appeared in person before the court, contradicted the same, saying that he was away in Gulf countries for employment. Justice Dixit said in view of the petitioner’s admission regarding his long absence, the contention that the principles of natural justice were not provided needn’t be looked into. “Such a person coming back to India can’t complain against removal and appointment of the administrator,” the judge observed while dismissing Khadri’s plea. Khadri had challenged the March 19, 2019 order passed by Chief Executive Officer of the Karnataka State Board of Wakfs removing him from the post and appointing the local tahsildar as administrator to manage the institution. He had claimed that muthawalliship is hereditary and his removal without affording any opportunity would push him to starvation. However, the wakf board and government counsel opposed Khadri’s petition. They argued though his presence was required, Khadri was away for a long duration for employment and many notices served to him were returned unserved.