New Delhi: A bill to streamline functioning of
Wakf Boards across the country and doing away with
encroachment of Wakf properties was passed in Lok Sabha today.
"It is the responsibility of the community to make better
use of Wakf properties," Minorities Affairs Minister Salman
Khurshid said replying to a debate before passage of the bill.
Khurshid said the Bill seeks to address issues like
encroachment of Wakf properties, inadequacy of data on Wakf
properties and giving more teeth to the Central Wakf Council
and Wakf Boards.
"Soon the Wakf records will be computerised which will
check fudging of records," he said.
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 streamlining the
encroachment removal process.
"We have provisions for two years` punishment for those
who encroach and help encroach Wakf properties...officials can
be find Rs 15,000," Khurshid said.
Demand for amendments was made from various quarters as it
was felt that the Act, dealing with the administration of Wakf
and concerned issues, has not proved enough in improving the
administration of the minority institution.
Sachar Committee, which went into the social, economic
and educational status of Muslims, had in its report suggested
a number of amendments to the Act.
The amendment will treat as "encroacher" anybody,occupying
Wakf property, 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 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 power of monitoring and also
authorise it to issue directives and advice in specific cases
along with the provision for independent dispute resolution
machinery headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court. The
machinery will be constituted by the central government.
It also proposes constitution of three-member tribunals in
states for determining all disputes relating to Wakf or Wakf
To make the functioning of the Central Wakf Council and
and State Wakf Boards more inclusive and effective, the bill
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 and
complete the survey for it within one year from the date of
commencement of the proposed legislation.