Wakf institutions victim of apathy of State Govts: JPC

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New Delhi, Oct 23 (UNI) The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Wakf has blamed the state Governments for neglecting Wakf institutions and alleging large scale encroachment of Wakf properties, called for urgent steps to prevent the misuse of Wakf properties.

''Wakf institutions in the country have been victims of apathy and general neglect by the state Governments, who have not made efforts to improve Wakf institutions in the country,'' says the report, tabled in both Houses of Parliament today.

The report of the Committee set up on January 2, 2006, to ascertain status of implementation of the Wakf Act, 1995 by various state governments, suggest amendments to the Wakf Act to achieve its objectives including retrieval of encroached properties, to examine functioning of the Central Wakf council and look into functioning of state Wakf boards.

Deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha K Rahman Khan, who headed the committee, said the report has pointed out several examples of improper functioning of the state Wakf boards like lack of adequate manpower and funds for its functioning, inordinate delay in constitution of Wakf boards in many states, lack of knowledge of wakf properties and indiscriminate encroachment of Wakf properties with state Wakf board being silent spectators to it.

''The report also shows that in many cases, the revenue administrations in the states have showed no interest in entering Wakf revenues in revenue records. Also, no state government has so far completed survey of Wakf properties, resulting in their large scale encroachment,'' Mr Rahman said.

He said the report had made several recommendations to improve the functioning of the Wakf boards which include effective working of state Wakf boards for proper monitoring and management of Wakf properties, that these boards are not used by the state governments for providing political patronage, forming a common wakf board for small states and Union territories for proper management of the wakfs.

In order to prevent encroachment of Wakf properties, the committee has recommended that every state should conduct survey of all the wakf properties situated in the state, registered or unregistered, that whenever any government agency wants to acquire a wakf land in public interest it may do so by paying adequate compensation at the market value so that the wakf can acquire or develop other properties and amendment of the Waqf Act, 1995 so as to make encroachment of Waqf properties a criminal offence.

The committee has recommended that the Government enact stringent legislations to punish those Mutawallis who are using Wakf properties for their personal benefit.

To improve financial conditions of the wakf boards, the committee recommended that the boards adopt sound and acceptable financial and budgetary practices with adequate transparency.

The JPC on Wakf consisted of 30 members - ten from Rajya Sabha and 20 from Lok Sabha.

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