Bill to improve functioning of Wakf Boards

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - 18:48

New Delhi: A bill seeking to streamline
functioning of Wakf Boards across the country and do away with
encroachment of Wakf properties was introduced in Lok Sabha
on Tuesday.

Introducing the Wakf Amendment Bill, 2010 amid uporar by
the Opposition over price rise, Minority Affairs Minister
Salman Khurshid said the purpose is to address issues like
encroachment of Wakf properties, indadequacy of data on Wakf
properties and give more teeth to the Central Wakf Council and
Wakf Boards.
The bill, which seeks to amend certain provisions of the
Wakf Act 1995, aims at providing stringent penal provisions
for encroachment of Wakf properties and stremalining the
process for removal of encroachments.

Acknowledging that the existing guidelines for removal of
encroachments of Wakf properties is "long drawn and generally
ineffective", the bill said, "the provisions of the Act are
required to be strengthened to deal effectively with the
issues of encroachment and alienation of Wakf properties."

The amendment will treat a person as "encroacher" if he is
occupying Wakf propery, in whole or part, illegally and it
also includes a person, whose tenancy, lease or license has
expired or has been terminated by the concerned Wakf Board.

Besides it also seeks to reduce the scope of alienation
of Wakf properties by prohibiting their sale and gift.

In order to strengthen the Central Wakf Council, the Bill
proposes to give it statutory powers. It also proposes
constitution of three member tribunals in states for
determining all matters realting to Wakf or Wakf properties.

To improve the functioning of the Central Wakf Council
and and State Wakf Boards, the Bill also proposes special
representation of women, professionals and experts in these
bodies.
It also seeks to make it obligatory on the part of every
state government to maintain a list of Wakf properties.

The demand for changes in the existing Act came from
various quarters as it was felt that the Wakf Act, 1995, has
not proved enough in improving administration of the minority
institution.

The Sachar Committee, which went into the social, economic
and educational status of Muslims, too had in its report
suggested a number of amendments to the Act.

The government held consultations with various stakeholders
like All India Muuslim Personal Law Board and representatives
of state governments before moving the amendment bill.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - 18:48

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